The Auckland Aces head into a must-win scenario this afternoon if they are to keep the dream of winning a home Grand Final alive.
The Aces host the Canterbury Kings at Eden Park Outer Oval, LIVE on SKY Sport from 4.10pm, and for the Kings, too, it’s a must-win situation with chasers the Central Stags and Wellington Firebirds still able to knock them out of the Finals.
The Aces have named an unchanged thirteen as they prepare for the first of two crunch encounters at Outer Oval, looking to bounce back after Sunday's loss to the top of the table Knights.
A win for the Aces will at the very least guarantee them a spot in the top three qualifiers, with the shape of the Finals series reliant on the final round of results.
"It's exciting to be right in the mix at this point in the competition," says their captain Craig Cachopa.
"We've put a line under the Knights game and have prepared well for the Kings. They’re a dangerous side with bat and ball, so we will need to be at our best."
Aces coach Mark O’Donnell wasn’t ruffled by the blip against the Knights and says the nature of T20s means you're going to have the odd day when things don't go your way.
"We weren't at our best against the Knights, but the boys know that. It's all about focusing on this next fixture against the Kings who will once again present a tough challenge.”
That’s because the Kings have got two of their biggest strike weapons back, young quicks Kyle Jamieson and Ed Nuttall back in tandem again after their respective injuries and making a huge difference in their big win in the last round.
Game on this arvo at the Aces’ fortress!
Craig Cachopa (c)
Colin de Grandhomme
Glenn Phillips (wicketkeeper)
Andrew Ellis (captain)
Cam Fletcher (wicketkeeper)