Amazing Ace | PHOTOSPORT

The Ultimate Comeback

Startling, see-sawing and the ultimate comeback thriller: the Auckland Aces snatched an incredible victory from the jaws of an upset defeat today at Kennards Hire Comnmunity Oval.
 
When the Aces dismissed cellar-dwellers the Otago Volts for 130 in 18.4 overs in the first innings, they surely would have felt the win was theirs for the taking if they could just pace themselves through the chase at their home fortress.
 
But the Otago Volts started utterly brilliantly with the ball in the power play, taking five wickets in the space of eight deliveries to have the Auckland Aces in a spin at 13/5 after just 2.3 overs.
 
Veteran Volts spinner Anaru Kitchen had taken the ball for the second over and ripped out three of those wickets - starting with opener George Worker caught off his second delivery, then Mark Chapman and Graeme Beghin falling off the fourth and fifth deliveries.
 
Kitchen would later chalk up a T20 career-best 4-11 off four overs after stopping a rampaging Will Somerville (25) in the 17th over - amid a remarkable Aces lower-order fightback with the bat.
 
But more on that later.
Will Somerville stood up with bat and ball | PHOTOSPORT
 
After Kitchen's stunning triple dip early doors, Jacob Duffy then struck twice in the space of three balls in the very next over to remove both Glenn Phillips and Ben Horne for no score.
 
Michael Rippon produced the wicket of the day to make Aces captain Robbie O'Donnell's stay a short one as well, the Aucklanders with backs to the wall at 26/6 in the seventh over - and in serious danger of recording not only their own lowest total, but the lowest total in Dream11 Super Smash history (which stands at 72).
 
Yet, the Aces won it from here.
 
Batting at seven, capable allrounder Sean Solia (T20 career best: 75) would save the day with an unbeaten 67* off 54 balls - despite the Volts pushing the Aces into a further predicament in the heart-stopping last over.
 
Duffy had removed Lockie Ferguson at the end of the 18th to have the Aces 120/8 in the knife-edge chase. Then Angus McKenzie forced young Adithya Ashok into sending up a sky-high catch second ball of the last over, when the Aces will needed just three to win.
 
Nine down, now. The batsmen had crossed, putting Solia on strike - but he could only eke out a single next ball, leaving number 11 Ben Lister on strike, with three balls left.
 
The Volts needed one wicket for a big upset. The Aces needed two runs for a shock win... and it was Aces high as a nerveless Lister immediately found the boundary for a stunning one-wicket win, with two balls to spare.
 
The amazing victory keeps the Aces neck-and-neck with the Wellington Firebirds in the qualifying race, both midtable teams now with four wins from seven rounds.