Hira puts Kings in a spin as Aces secure finals spot

The Auckland Aces have cruised to a four-wicket victory over the Canterbury Kings in today’s Burger King Super Smash match at Eden Park Outer Oval.

A well-timed chase saw the Aces home with 14 balls to spare with Captain Craig Cachopa (41) and Robbie O’Donnell (55) putting on 76 runs for the fourth wicket to all but see their side to victory.

The Cachopa/O’Donnell partnership showed cool heads throughout, nudging the ball around with the occasional show of brute power – both players with strike rates well over 100.

When Cachopa departed with less than 20 required, the Aces stumbled slightly but the result was never really in doubt, Donovan Grobbelaar sealing the win with a towering six over mid-wicket.

Earlier, the Aces won the toss and elected to bowl first, the entire bowling unit stepping up to restrict the Kings to 145/9 from their 20 overs.

Left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira was simply superb with the ball taking 4-26 from his four overs – the Kings’ batsmen with no answer to his nagging line and length.

Ben Lister was particularly miserly with figures of 1-17 from four overs while Sam Curran, Donovan Grobbelaar and Colin de Grandhomme all chipped in with a wicket each.

Cam Fletcher (46) and Andrew Ellis (40) gave the visitors something to bowl at but in the end 145/9 was never going to be enough on a run laden Eden Park Outer Oval.

The win means the Aces have assured themselves a spot in the finals – a home final still a possibility depending on the final round of results.

The Aces finish the regular season against the Otago Volts on Sunday at home while the Kings will now play the Knights in their final fixture, top spot still up for grabs.

The second and third placed teams will play a preliminary final next Wednesday before the Burger King Super Smash final on Saturday.

For a full scorecard from today’s fixture click here.

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