Martin Guptill and Colin Munro lead a thrilling chase against the Canterbury Kings to give the Auckland ACES the perfect start to 2020 at Eden Park’s Outer Oval.
Chasing the Kings 194/3, it was Munro who provided the belated New Year’s fireworks. The left-hander hit 10 fours and 2 sixes in the first six overs. The pair put on 91 for the first wicket as the ACES returned serve after Chad Bowes’ earlier blitz for the Kings.
The Kings fought back around the halfway mark when Munro departed for 68 off 35 and Andrew Ellis trapped Glenn Phillips in front. It was a crucial moment in that match and one Guptill stamped his name on, blasting three sixes off Ellis’ next over.
Despite losing Chapman in the 15th over, Guptill ensured the ACES carried the momentum into the last five overs. The ACES opener guided the chase brilliantly on his way to an unbeaten 83* off 52 balls.
Requiring 54 off 30 deliveries, Anderson clubbed his second ball for four. It was just the start the ACES number five needed as he raced out to 14 off 7 balls with a flat six off Will Williams. Guptill and Anderson (28*) took charge of the situation, adding an unbeaten 64 off 32 balls to take the ACES home with three balls to spare.
Earlier, Bowes powered 5 fours and 4 sixes on his way to a 19-ball fifty as the Kings flew through to 70/0 in the powerplay. Left-arm spinners Ronnie Hira and Louis Delport snuck in a couple of tight overs before Bowes found a second wind.
The right-hander regularly cleared the mid-wicket boundary as the ACES searched for a breakthrough. Jack Boyle, at the other end, was kept relatively quiet as Bowes saw the majority of the strike. Rightly so as Bowes was putting on a batting masterclass.
Just as Bowes was racing towards three figures, having crashed two sixes and a four from Hira’s fourth over, he tried for one more. Hira snuck one underneath Bowes’ slog sweep and the King’s opener had to go for an action-packed 90.
The ACES took the opportunity to fight back. Craig Cachopa and Mark Chapman combined to complete the run out of Stephen Murdoch, who was yet to face a ball. An over later, Ben Lister held on to fantastic diving catch as Sean Solia claimed the wicket of Cole McConchie.
Boyle finished unbeaten on 69 while Cam Fletcher (29*) helped take 18 runs from the last over.