The Auckland Aces have their rising young talents to thank for an impressive first-up win over the Otago Volts in the McDonald’s Super Smash.
Blazing half-centuries from 19-year old Glenn Phillips and 22-year old Mark Chapman were the catalyst for the Aces’ 22-run victory over the Volts at Eden Park Outer Oval today.
Having named several debutants in their 12-man squad, the hosts were counting on some youthful exuberance against an experienced Otago unit in a first-up re-match of last year’s Super Smash final.
They got that from Phillips and Chapman, who were superb as Auckland posted 198/5 after being inserted by Volts captain Hamish Rutherford.
On his Super Smash debut Phillips led the way from the get-go, feasting on deliveries from a Volts seam attack that was guilty of pitching too full as Phillips took the chance to free his arms.
He peppered the boundary with nine fours, and could have had more if not for two straight drives cannoning back into the stumps at the non-striker's end.
Phillips was the sole scorer early in the piece, Michael Guptill-Bunce having been run out and Rob Nicol skying a stroke to mid-on.
The young opener continued with a booming six bringing up his 50 on T20 debut, but wily veteran Bradley Scott struck with the first ball of his spell. Scott drew Phillips into playing a loose hook shot to a short ball, the young gun departing for 55 from 32 balls.
Unfortunately for the Volts, Phillips’ demise only brought about more pain as Chapman entered the fray to play one of the best innings of his short-form career.
The Hong Kong international was in immense form, crushing seven sixes and four fours in a rapid, career-best knock in which he flayed the Otago attack all over the Oval.
He received a life when dropped off the bowling of Scott, but made the most of it by bringing up 50 from just 23 balls.
All the while, Chapman had a great foil in Sean Solia, who was making his Super Smash debut after impressing in the Plunket Shield.
Solia was content with rotating the strike, making an unbeaten 30 off 24 as he and Chapman added a remarkable 108 for the fifth wicket – an Auckland Aces record.
The rapid scoring rate persisted right until the end – 19 coming off the penultimate over as Chapman smoked one delivery out of the ground before scooping a shot over the wicketkeeper for four.
His innings finally came to an end on the penultimate ball of the innings, having made 76 from just 32 deliveries.
A required run rate of 10 an over was always going to be a massive ask for the Volts, and Rutherford’s first ball duck made matters worse.
His early departure brought two former Auckland players to the crease, and Anaru Kitchen and Derek de Boorder went about setting up a competitive chase.
The pair added 65 for the second wicket, staying in line with the required run rate, but Kitchen was bowled by Tarun Nethula for a 30-ball 42.
De Boorder continued, making 44 from 35 before he was run out, and Neil Broom followed suit soon after as Chapman added to his batting accolades by claiming a scalp with the ball.
After a slow start, Brad Wilson started swinging to try to drag back the Volts’ hopes, but their task proved too tricky, finishing short at 176/7.
Nethula was the best of the Aces' bowlers with 2-28 off his four overs, while Donovan Grobbelaar claimed 2-36. English import Tymal Mills took 1-27 off three overs while Mitchell McClenaghan was wicketless on his return from injury with 0-34 from three overs.
Catch of the day
The players’ efforts in the field were overshadowed by a fan on the boundary rope. Some crowd positions at Eden Park Outer Oval can be in the firing line, but one man was up to the task, claiming a one-handed ripper of a catch while lying down on the bank. As the crowd cheered, he received a congratulatory pat on the back from a Volts fielder. Well done that man.
Points after round one
Round two begins 7.10pm on Saturday 10 December when the Stags will host the Knights across town at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium.