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Super Smash, New Zealand's premier T20 competition, kicked off on December 13th with three exciting games of cricket. The tournament carries significant importance for the white-ball specialists with this tournament likely to govern the selections for the ICC World T20, which is now less than a year away. Both Auckland Aces and Caterbury Kings lost their respective matches and are set to take on each other in an upcoming contest. The two teams will play against each other on 17th December at Hagley Oval, Christchurch, on Monday, 17th December.
Auckland Aces got off to a pretty reasonable start to the tournament, scoring a competitve total of 197 while chasing a towering total of 210, but didn't quite have the result go their way. The loss to Otago Volts in their first match of the series pushed Auckland Aces to the fifth spot on the points table, largely because of their poor net run-rate.
Bowling first on a beauty of a wicket to bat on, Auckland Aces' bowlers failed not only to pick up wickets, but also to contain the Volts' batsmen. Aces got their first wicket in the eighth over at the total of 84 runs, but could not stem the flow of runs throughout the innings. Just when things started to get under control for them, a brilliant partnership between Dean Foxtrot and Neil Broom robbed them of momentum as Otago Vols ended up with a total of 210 runs on the board.
On paper, the Aces have an excellent batting unit that would have fancied chasing down the total of 210. They got off to a reasonable start with Colin Munro and Martin Guptill adding 35 runs in under three overs for the first wicket. A couple of brief partnerships, between Glenn Phillps and Martin Guptill and between Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman, kept them in hunt, but the Aces failed to accelerate once Chapman was dismissed. Glenn Phillips scored a brilliant century, but with no support whatsoever for him from other end, Auckland Aces were left 13 runs short of Otago's total.
Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, GD Phillips, Craig Cachopa, Mark Chapman, Sean Solia, Corey Anderson, Ronnie Hira, W Somerville, Kyle Jamieson, MJ Mcclenaghan.
Unlike Auckland Aces, Canterbury Kings were involved in a low-scoring encounter. However, their fate was no different from the Aucland Aces' as they lost their opening match to Wellington Knights. As it stands, Canterbury Kings are placed at the fourth spot with a net run-rate of -0.514.
They were let down by their batting after Cole McConchie won the toss and elected to bat first. Chad Bowes and Jack Boyle got them off to a reasonably good start, but their none of their middle-order batsmen could capitalize on the start. They looked in a decent position before the halfway stage with team's total of 75 for the loss of 2 wickets, but Boyle's dismissal changed the game for them. They lost their last eight wickets for 54 runs as they were dismantled entirely for a total of 129.
It is always tough to defend a lowish total in T20s, but their bowlers did not go down without a fight. Ed Nuttall, Cole McConchie, and Andrew Ellis were fantastic in their spells, but Will Williams' over change the direction of the match in Wellinton's favor. He was smashed for 16 runs in his only over. Cole McConchie was the pick of their bowlers as he returned with fantastic figures of 3 for 18 in his 4 overs.
Chad Bowes, Jack Boyle, Stephen Murdoch, Cole McConchie, Cameron Fletcher, Andrew Ellis, Leo Carter, Henry Burton Shipley, Will Williams, Blake Peter Coburn, Ed Nuttall.
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Both the sides are coming off a loss in their respective matches and would love to turn things around. Although these are still early days in the tournament and teams can catch-up pretty fast, both the sides would want to put points on the board. While the Kings struggled with their batting in their previous encounter, the Aces have plenty to ponder upon as far as their bowling goes. We expect to see an excellent wicket to bat on in this encounter and Auckland Aces' superb batting is likely to thrive on it. There is little to separate the two sides based on their performances in their respective opening matchtes, but comparing the two team on paper, Auckland Aces seem to be a bit ahead. They have experience available in all departments of the game and are therefore, our pick to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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