A blockbusting innings from Colin de Grandhomme led the Auckland Aces to victory as they continued their perfect start to the McDonald’s Super Smash.
De Grandhomme blasted a match-turning 36 from 12 balls as the Aces posted 186/6 on their way to a 38-run victory — their third straight win of the season.
Brought in late in the innings, de Grandhomme made up for lost time with a traditionally rapid start. His first ball was dispatched for six, and he continued that wild rate by quickly advancing to 19 from four balls! Somehow he increased that tempo, racing through to 27 from six balls and 32 off nine deliveries as he blasted allcomers to the rope.
While de Grandhomme’s remarkable cameo was the defining innings of the match, he received plenty of support from a potent Auckland top order.
Rob Nicol played a stable role with 55 off 47 balls at the top of the order. His innings looked in danger of stalling at a run-a-ball-rate, but some late boundaries and a fortunate French cut boosted his strike rate.
Glenn Phillips (15 off 17) couldn’t improve on a fine start to his Twenty20 career, but Colin Munro showed his power, smoking several astonishing sixes on his way to a valuable 14-ball 26.
Mark Chapman came and went for 14, but Jeet Raval played a handy role as de Grandhomme’s accomplice, playing some technically sound shots as he compiled 27 from 16 balls.
Raval and de Grandhomme compiled a 50 partnership in just 19 balls, moving the Aces from a potentially below-par offering to presenting a difficult chase for the Knights.
That chase became tougher when they lost both their openers in the span of one over from Mitchell McClenaghan. Coupled with a slow start, the Knights were soon facing a required run rate of more than 11.
Corey Anderson looked potent with 27 from 22 balls, but didn't get enough support in the top order as the Knights scratched around at a below-average rate.
Mitchell Santner (30 from 24) and Daryl Mitchell (37 from 22) provided some hitting as both blasted sixes out of the ground, but it was too late as the Aces' bowlers tightened the screws.
They have one of the best bowling attacks in the competition, and proved it in an economical and accurate display.
Tymal Mills mixed slower balls with a peppering of rising short deliveries to end with 1-19 from his four overs , Tarun Nethula picked up 2-20, Lockie Ferguson claimed 1-30 and McClenaghan 2-32.
Ish Sodhi was the best on show for the Knights with 2-26 while Tim Southee bowled well at the death in his domestic return.
The Knights remain with just one win from four games, but will have Trent Boult and BJ Watling available when they play the Otago Volts at Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval tomorrow. The Aces will host the Kings while the Stags take on the Firebirds in Nelson in a bumper day of McDonald’s Super Smash action.
Fun moment: Battle of the BLACKCAPS!
Dropped first ball off the bowling of Mitchell Santner, Colin Munro got into his work with a hook shot which was smoked out of park, followed by the shot of the day – a reverse sweep off Sodhi over point for six. But Sodhi would eventually get his revenge, luring Munro down the crease and knocking over his off stump.