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Over the years, Super Smash has been one of the most competetive T20 tournament in the World and it is no different this time around as well. We are down to the final five days in the tournament and the semi-finalists still look far from settled. Northern Knights, who are at the bottom of the table, are still in contention to progress to the next round, but they have a tough road ahead. They would have to win both their remaining match and hope for the results of other matches to fall in their favor. They are set to face Auckland Aces in their upcoming fixture, which is to be placed at Eden Park, Auckland, on 10th January.
Studded with stars, the Aces have failed to impress their fans in the tournament so far. Even though they are still pretty much in the race to qualify for the playoffs, they are at the fifth spot and have done a lot worse than what everyone expected them to. While a couple of wins would ascertain their qualification for the semis, even one win should also be good enough for them.
The Aces have so far won three games from a total of eight played and will be looking to add a couple more to their tally. Much to their delight, they are coming off a strong win over Central Districts and that should imbibe a lot of confidence among the players. In fact, they have been brilliant in both of their last two matches and considering the momentum as well as the team they have, getting past them would be a tad difficult for the Knights.
Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, GD Phillips, Mark Chapman, Craig Cachopa, Corey Anderson, Ben Horne, Ronnie Hira, Benjamin Lister, MJ Mcclenaghan, Kyle Jamieson.
Without a few of their major players, the Knights have failed to leave an impression in the tournament. They are at the sixth spot on the points table with ten points to their name in eight matches. Also, their net run-rate of -1.414 is so poor that even a couple of wins might push them behind other teams who have better net run-rate than that of Knights.
Surprisingly, Northern Knights are one of the only two sides that have beaten Wellington Firebirds. It was, however, three games ago and apart from that as well as their win over Auckland Aces, Northern Knights have failed to impress.
Their batsmen did well against the Canterbury Kings, but their bowlers failed to contain the likes of Colin McConchie and Leo Carter as the Kings chased down the target of 220 with an over to spare. For the Knights, their international stars are likely to return and if that happens, the Knights would be a dangerous looking unit, at least on paper. Also, they'll take confidence from their previous win over Auckland Aces and considering that and the motivation to survive in the tournament, the Knights will give it their best on Friday.
Tim Seifert, Anton Devcich, Dean Brownlie, Brett Hampton, Daniel Flynn, Daryl Mitchell, Peter Bocock, Scott Kuggeleijn, IS Sodhi, Anurag Verma, Brett Randell.
With things looking extremely tight at the moment as far as the points table is concerned, the pressure on both the sides would be immense. The Aces have done better in the tournament as compared to the Knights, albeit not by much. Comparing the two sides on paper as well as on the basis of recent performance, Auckland Aces seem ahead. For that reasons as well as the others mentioned above, Aces are firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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