The Auckland Aces have survived a valiant pursuit by the Canterbury Wizards to win the HRV Cup match at Eden Park by seven runs.
Gareth Hopkins (64) and Colin de Grandhomme (60) led the Aces to a total of 197 for seven in the first innings. In reply the Wizards got off to a strong start, but were eventually held to 189 for six.
The Wizards made their intentions clear early, making 47 off the opening five overs. The very next ball though they lost opener Brad Cachopa for 25.
The second wicket partnership though would be a valuable one, with George Worker and Dean Brownlie taking their side to the 100 mark after 11.1 overs.
The Wizards seemed to be cruising at 150 for one, but the loss of Worker for a brilliant 68 gave the Aces a slim chance – and they took it.
Needing 39 from 18 balls, the visitors succumbed to the pressure of the need for boundaries and began to lose wickets regularly.
With eight wickets in hand, the Wizards required 16 off the final over. The pivotal moment came off the first ball, with Brendon Diamanti (29) caught athletically by Lou Vincent on the boundary.
It left the task up to Dean Brownlie, but it was too big a ask and he himself fell off the penultimate ball.
In total four wickets fell in the final over, ending a courageous attempt by the Wizards and sending the 5000 plus strong crowd into a frenzy.
Andre Adams bowled terrifically in the final over and finished with figures of four for 20 from four overs.
Earlier, the Aces had been put on the back foot having lost the early wickets of Phil Mustard (0) and Lou Vincent (5) to be 17 for two.
Hopkins began the recovery well and found able support in de Grandhomme, with the pair putting on 58 for the fourth wicket.
Hopkins played a number of innovative strokes on his way to his half century and finished with seven fours and three sixes to his name.
Following his captain’s departure, De Grandhomme continued to give his side the momentum with a hard hit 60 from 33 balls.
Kyle Mills added a late 25, but the Wizards bowled well at the death to restrict the Aces to just below 200.
No bowler boasted particularly economic figures, but both Logan van Beek and Ryan McCone claimed two wickets apiece.
The next HRV Cup match is between the Otago Volts and Northern Knights at University Oval, Dunedin on Sunday.