Canterbury Wizards 107 (Kyle Mills 3-14, Michael Bates 3-8, Matt Henry 29) lost by seven wickets to the Auckland Aces 108-3 from 11.2 overs (Craig Cachopa 41, Gareth Hopkins 24).
The Auckland Aces bounced back in real style at Eden Park tonight claiming a one-sided seven-wicket victory over the Canterbury Wizards.
Aces skipper Gareth Hopkins' decision to utilise Michael Bates in the second over was quickly rewarded with two wickets, George Worker snared at slip off Bates' first delivery; opening partner Rob Nicol following him back to the changing shed at over's end, caught behind.
Reeling at 9-2, a rain break gave the Wizards a chance to recompose, the match reduced to 19 overs. However, three balls into the resumption Dean Brownlie gamely top-edged Kyle Mills to worsen the situation to 9-3, before Mills himself removed Brad Cachopa to leave BLACKCAPS Tom Latham and Andrew Ellis facing a stiff rescue mission. But catastrophe struck again when the introduction of Colin de Grandhomme stopped their fledgling partnership at 10, the Wizards crumbling to 29-5 as Ellis was trapped lbw.
Mitchell McClenaghan twisted the knife when he athletically ran out Ronnie Hira at the keeper's end off his own bowling to have the Wizards on their knees at 31-6 in just the eighth over, Todd Astle the next to go when he slammed a stinger to Martin Guptill at midwicket.
Matt Henry (29 from 16) showed his trademark hitting power with back-to-back sixes off Luke Wright as he and Latham sped to a much-needed partnership of 45 off 23 balls, but Latham's wicket, to a sprawling Hopkins behind him, was the death knell for the desperate Cantabrian run rate. It was the last ball of Mills's spell, for a quality return of 3-14.
Dismissed for just 107 in the 17th over, Bates finishing off for a fine 3-18 off 2.5, the Wizards needed to bowl heroically to generate a contest and were forced to all but expend their sharp pace duo of Henry and Hamish Bennett at the top. Henry put himself on a hat-trick by dismissing Guptill and Cachopa with the last two balls of his third over, but there was never enough scoreboard pressure to stop the Aces surging to two wins from three matches, Hopkins (24* off 17) and Cachopa (41* off 21) smashing an unbeaten 67 off 38 to clinch an emphatic victory with more than seven overs to spare.
The Wizards remain winless with all teams now breaking for red ball cricket until the HRV Twenty20 resumes on 27 December for the summer holiday season.