Aces stay clear at top

The defending champion Auckland Aces made light work of their latest HRV Cup Twenty20 assignment today.

The competition pacesetters remained alone atop the standings after cruising to a six-wicket win over the Northern Knights at Mt Maunganui’s Bay Oval.

Outstanding performances with the ball from left-arm spinners Ronnie Hira and Bruce Martin as well as veteran seamer Andre Adams made their task all the much easier after the Knights were rolled for just 111 in 19.2 overs.

That was never going to ask serious questions of the confident Aces outfit, who duly delivered their fifth win of the campaign in 16.4 overs with the red hot Martin Guptill among the runs yet again.

Coming off an unbeaten century and a half-century in his last two visits to the middle, Guptill had the luxury of pacing himself to make 49 not out off 48 balls, with five fours and one six, his one anxious moment probably coming in the third over when rain drove the players from the field.

Thankfully, the shower relented to enable the Aces to complete a thoroughly deserved result with plenty to spare.

Adams had resembled an action magnet in the early stages of the Knights innings, having a direct hand in the first four dismissals by bowling opener Brad Wilson for 13 and Kane Williamson for six and pouching  catches to remove Daniel Vettori and Hamish Marshall.

That saw the Knights reduced to 50 for four and they never recovered, with Corey Anderson the only stumbling block for the Aces as he hit 30 off 34 balls before Martin had him stumped by Gareth Hopkins.

Adams returned to remove Anton Devcich for six and end with the excellent figures of three for 27 off four overs, which were improved upon by Martin, whose three for 15 off four included the scalps of Peter McGlashan and Tim Southee.

Hira prospered as well, leaking a meagre 12 runs from his four overs and dismissing Knights skipper  Scott Styris for six for good measure with a smart caught and bowled.

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