About the Match
The Super Smash 2017/18 looks set to end on an exciting note as the Auckland Aces and the Northern Knights fight for the top spot. Canterbury also has a mathematical chance of winning the league thanks to its high net run-rate but it needs to win both of their last two matches and hope that some results go their way as well.
The Auckland Aces will be taking on the Canterbury Kings in what is set to be one of the pivotal matches for both teams this season.
Auckland comes into this game knowing that they must put up a better performance than they did in their last match against the Northern Knights. That was also a crucial game for the Aces and they started out well by scoring 202 runs batting first. What followed then was an exhibition of some excellent batting by the Knights and a terrible bowling performance by the Aces.
Auckland ended up losing that match in just 16.5 overs.
How much of that performance dented their confidence will have to be seen. Auckland must focus on the positives, though, and back their strengths. Mark Chapman has been absolutely brilliant for them this season and 272 runs to his name from 6 innings. Glenn Phillips did not carry on after a good start but he is one of the most destructive batsmen in New Zealand at the moment and is making his mark at the international level as well.
Colin de Grandhomme played the last match and should be available for this match as well which will provide the Auckland batting another hefty boost.
No one is worried about the Auckland batting but their bowling is another issue altogether. Not a single bowler went for less than 8.00 runs per over and a couple even went for more than 15.00. Sam Curran and Tarun Nethula had particularly bad days that they would like to forget about.
The Aces must hope that their bowling had a rare very bad day and move on to the task at hand.
Canterbury won a very important match in their last game and remain with a shot at winning the title this season. They need to win both their upcoming matches for that, though. Their last victory was very convincing in the end but it did not appear likely to be so at the halfway stage.
The Kings could only score 150 batting first against the Wellington Firebirds but then put in an absolute screamer of a bowling performance to bundle them out for 88. The large margin of victory has boosted their net run rate above the Aces and the Knights, thus taking one complication out of the way.
A similar strong bowling performance will be required from the Kings if they are to overcome the strong Auckland Aces batting. This encounter will be a matchup between a strong batting lineup and a bowling attack that has hit form at the right time.
Nuttall and Jamieson took three wickets each to knock the wind out of the Firebirds. None of the bowlers went for more than 8.50 runs an over and five bowlers registered at least a wicket to their name.
It was an all-round performance from a team that can sometimes fall short in the batting department.
The runs for Canterbury must come from the bat of Bowes, Fletcher, and McConchie. We continue to shake our head in disbelief at the batting position for Fletcher but that is not something that is likely to change at this late stage in the competition.
We also have a strong feeling that Michael Pollard could be the key here. He has been hitting the ball well only to get out soon after. If he can take advantage of a low on confidence Auckland bowling attack then this could very well be the match where we see the best of him.
Pitch and Conditions
Auckland is going through a good spell of weather and only a 10% chance of rain is being predicted for match day. We are hopeful to see another good cricket wicket with plenty of runs in it and an uninterrupted match between two good sides.
Auckland has beaten Canterbury in their last four encounters and we think they are likely to do it again thanks to their stronger batting lineup.
Back the Auckland Aces to win