26 Jun, Sunday

Lister five sets ACES on their way


Lister five sets ACES on their way

Praneel HiraAces

Ben Lister’s maiden List A five-wicket bag set up the ACES four-wicket victory over the Wellington Firebirds in Round One of the Ford Trophy.

The ACES left-arm seamer put on an exhibition with the new ball during his initial four-over spell of 2-6, which included a pair of maidens. Lister got his day started when Jacob Bhula’s mistimed pull ended in the hands of Craig Cachopa at mid-off.

Several memorable catches and exceptional ground fielding helped the ACES set the tone in the field. Martin Guptill casually reached high above his head to pouch Devon Conway’s outside edge off Danru Ferns.

Michael Bracewell’s firm glide off Ben Lister wasn’t quite wide enough of Robert O’Donnell, who took a comfortable catch diving away to his left. It was just the start the ACES would have wanted and it was about to get better. An in-form Matt McEwan charged in for his first delivery and Guptill was in the game again at a wide first slip.

Malcolm Nofal and Jamie Gibson then staged a brief fightback. Nofal deposited two sixes onto the Eden Park concourse before Lister trapped the left-hander in front on his return to the attack. Lister then plucked Laurie Johns’ firm drive out of the air over his right shoulder and the Firebirds were reeling at 79/6.

Gibson had time to bat and took 78 deliveries to bring up his first List A fifty, adding 70 for the eighth wicket with Logan van Beek. Craig Cachopa pulled the right reins reintroducing Sean Solia into the attack as the seamer enticed van Beek into a drive.

There was still work to do for the ACES as the Firebirds entered the final ten overs. On 64, Gibson picked out a sprawling O’Donnell on the long-on boundary before finding a way through Ollie Newton. Lister (5-18) had the final say when Guptill took another fine catch to end the Firebirds’ innings at 191.

Newton (3-32) threw a spanner in the works taking three wickets inside the first seven overs. The Firebirds were boisterous about their start and the ACES would slide into further trouble when Cachopa’s flick picked out short fine leg.

Good running and the odd boundary rebuilt the ACES innings. Solia and O’Donnell played confidently and patiently, putting on a match-defining 108 runs for the fifth wicket. Once O’Donnell reached his fourth List A fifty, off 70 balls, the Plunket Shield skipper pulled out his full array of strokes. Solia wasn’t far behind; the left-hander bringing up his seventh List A fifty and, in doing so, going past 1000 List A runs.

The final fifteen runs came in a hurry with the winning runs appropriately coming from the middle of Solia’s blade. The all-rounder finished on 65* off 92 deliveries as the ACES secured a bonus-point victory.

Next up for the ACES is the Central Stags on Thursday 21 November at the Outer Oval.