Aces win as Wizards fall short in late overs
Canterbury slumped to their third consecutive HRV Cup T20 loss this season when losing a nail-biter by eight runs to Auckland at Eden Park last night.
Auckland posted 197 for seven and Canterbury challenged that score throughout until a disastrous final over when they losing four wickets when chasing 15 to win. The Wizards ended at 189 for six.
The experience of Auckland's death bowler Andre Adams, who was entrusted with the vital final over and the safe hands of Lou Vincent in the outfield proved decisive, Vincent clasping three catches around the boundary line in the closing stages.
It was the defending champion's second win from as many matches while Canterbury will field the going tough having opened with losses to Wellington, Northern Districts and now Auckland, all away from home.
Canterbury looked like they had paced their chase well enough as George Worker and Dean Brownlie added 106 for the third wicket although the did not find the fence as often as they would have liked.
But when Colin de Grandhomme went for 22 late in the innings it looked like the scales had tipped in the visitors favour.
Explosive hitter Brendon Diamanti looked like he would carry the Wizards home with his brand of power hitting slamming 29 from 14 balls but after getting into a winning position the vastly-experienced Adams combined with Vincent to close them out.
Auckland's innings was built around sizzling half centuries from Gareth Hopkins and Colin de Grandhomme.
The home side was in early trouble after being sent in losing both openers, Lou Vincent and Phil Mustard, cheaply.
However captain Hopkins hit cleanly from the outset and was soon finding the fence getting into the groove with a six and a four off Ryan McCone.
With Anaru Kitchen 45 was added for the third wicket and Hopkins went on to post an invaluable 64 from just 37 balls with seven fours and three sixes.
The dangerous de Grandhomme carried on after Hopkins departed with some bold ball-striking hositing his first T20 half-century in just 27 deliveries.
All the Canterbury bowlers came in for some punishment on the splendid surface and with short boundaries on Eden Park's main oval the score soon mounted, none more so than Gareth Andrew who yielded 22 from the 11th over.
Any waywardness in direction was plundered and when de Grandhomme was given a life on 60 with a dropped catch by Tim Johnston it could have been crucial for the Wizards. But Johnson redeemed himself next ball in the 17th over running the Auckland Ace out for 60 from 33 balls with eight fours and two sixes.