About the Match
The Burger King Super Smash 2017-18 has got off to an exciting start with high scored being scored in almost every match and plenty of extra media attention due to the presence of one ginger-haired Englishman currently not playing the Ashes. Be as it were, this match between the Northern Knights and the Auckland Aces will be the second one for both teams. While Aces won their opening encounter pretty handily, the Knights were handed a heavy defeat by the Wellington Firebirds.
Northern Districts Knights
The Northern Knights were up against the defending champions in their opening game and they found the competition a little too tough to handle. They managed to keep the Firebirds to 176, a par total, but then fell short by 32 runs in their attempt to haul it down.
32 runs is a pretty massive margin and in T20 cricket and will raise questions about their batting depth. In fact, the only reason that they got so close was due to the batting exploits of Ish Sodhi who top scored with 51 runs of 36 deliveries.
The more recognized batsmen like Devicich, Siefert, and Brownlie all failed to get going. Dean Brownlie actually got a start and scored 25 but fell just when he had started to look comfortable at the crease.
Daryl Mitchell, the all-round hope of the Northern Districts, remained not out but his 32 of 29 deliveries was too little and too slow to cause any major damage to the opposition. The Northern Knights gave up 8 sixes to the opposition but could only hit 3 when their turn to bat came.
In a game that’s all about power hitting, they will need to get their act together fast.
The Knights were supposed to be a stronger bowling unit anyway thanks to Ish Sodhi, Ben Laughlin, and Brent Arnel in their lineup and to some extent that was proven true. Sodhi went for only 21 runs in his four overs while Arnel went for 29 and both the bowlers also picked up two wickets.
Laughlin, though, was quite expensive giving away 47 runs while Devcich and Daryl Mitchell also had a poor day. The Knights showed signs of rust and started off slow. Back to back games will give them little time to get their game in order.
The Aces won their first match of the tournament by chasing down a stiff target of 193 with relative ease against a string Central Stags unit. In fact, the start to their chase was so strong that for a while it looked like they would end up getting this total with a few overs to spare.
The architects of that strong opening stand were Colin Munro and Glenn Phillips. The strong left-hander is known to be destructive with the bat and he proved that once again by scoring 47 of 20 deliveries with six boundaries and three sixes.
It was Phillips that was the surprise as he matches Munro shot for shot and scored 36 from just 15 deliveries with seven boundaries and one six.
The Aces suffered a mini-collapse in the middle as they lost Munro at the total of 80 and then proceeded to lose Phillips, Chapman, and Cachopa at the total of 91. Thankfully for them though Robert O’Donnell played an excellent hand of 54 with support from Ben Horne to guide the Aces home.
The Aces batting is looking very strong and the fact that a number of different players contributed to their win is great news going forward.
Their bowling did not have the easiest of times but there was plenty to like about the variety that Sam Curran brought to the attack and the pace provide by Lockie Ferguson. Tarun Nethula also picked up two important wickets to help stem the flow of runs from the opposition.
The Auckland Aces are definitely a batting heavy unit and that could be crucial on the small New Zealand grounds going forward. Their bowling will need to improve a tad especially when they come up against the stronger opposition but overall we think that the Aces have most bases covered.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather forecast currently predicts some rain on the match day but hopefully, that will clear up by the time the match has to start. The pitch will be flat but overcast conditions could offer some swing to the bowlers and bring the paceman into the game.
Three out of the last four complete matches between the two sides have been won by the Auckland Aces. They did, however, lose the most recent encounter against the Northern Knights.
We feel that the Aces are a much-improved unit and are packing a bit too much batting firepower for the Northern Knights to handle.
Back the Auckland Aces to win