Auckland Aces 194 (Colin de Grandhomme 44*, Chris Nash 41, Doug Bracewell 3-46) beat Devon Hotel Central Stags 161 (Carl Cachopa 41, Kieran Noema-Barnett 40, Lachie Ferguson 2-21) by 33 runs.
The Auckland Aces ended their HRV Twenty20 season today with a 33-run victory over the Devon Hotel Central Stags, while for the Stags it meant a winless summer - seven losses from 10 rounds fixing them to last place on the table.
Desperate to get a win on the board, the disappointed visitors would have had to have equalled their highest score of the season to defeat the Aces - who unsurprisingly chose to bat first on a flat Eden Park outer oval deck with a fast outfield. A blistering start saw 56 runs blasted from the first five overs. Aces pro Chris Nash dominated before his entertaining knock of 41 off 20 was ended by Doug Bracewell, who found a touch of swing to have the opener miscuing to square leg.
But the Auckland assault was rather relentless, with nine sixes and sixteen fours in the innings and Jono Sole's slew of boundaries keeping even Colin de Grandhomme in the shade for a time. Their breezy 40-run stand off 29 balls blew apart when Sole went after an innocuous full toss - the signal to de Grandhomme to kick up a gear, the big-hitter banging consecutive sixes off Bevan Small and slamming Jacob Oram into the service station across Sandringham Road at the death to finish unbeaten on 44 from just 24 balls.
Although Bracewell picked up three wickets, the best of the Stags' bowling belonged to spinner Tarun Nethula, who weathered the batting storm for a generally tight 2-32. But wickets had been too few to stem the flow of runs, the Stags left with a pressure chase of 195.
Manawatu opening batsman Dane Cleaver was off the mark immediately on debut, but managed just one lofted boundary before a fearsome, climbing delivery from Lockie Ferguson found his outside edge in the fourth over. Carl Cachopa appeared the Aces' biggest obstacle as he pushed and pummelled his way to a bright 41, but Ferguson again had his hand in a wicket when he ran out Cachopa off his own bowling in the 15th.
When James Fuller sent captain Kieron Noema-Barnett (40 off 30) and Jacob Oram back to the tent in the same over, it was all over bar the shouting for the Stags, who limped on to finish on 161-7. Although the match had no bearing on the finals, the Aces could take consolation in lifting themselves to fourth position on the season's scoreboard.