The Northern Knights got the defence of their Men's One-Day cricket title off to a winning start after they beat the Auckland Aces by two runs in Auckland today.
Northern posted a modest score of 212 after they lost the toss and were sent in to bat by Auckland.
BJ Watling with 26 runs, Daniel Flynn 40, Brad Wilson, 23 and Peter McGlashan with 30 all got starts which they failed to build on while Northern's innings stumbled when Michael Parlan1, 1, Scott Styris, and James Marshall departed for ducks.
A 60-run partnership between Graeme Aldridge, 47 off 50 balls, and Brad Scott, 19, helped Northern to reach their score before being dismissed with two balls left in their innings.
Left arm medium pacer Michael Bates was the best of the Auckland bowlers, taking five for 36 to post his first one-day five wicket bag in 14 matches. Daryl Tuffey and Andre Adams contributed two wickets each.
Auckland appeared to be cruising to victory with good contributions from Anaru Kitchen, 58, Gareth Hopkins, 34, and Colin de Grandhomme 34 after openers Lou Vincent, 11 and Jeet Raval, 17 were dismissed to leave their side at 41-2.
But once Colin Munro departed for a duck, international bowler Kyle Mills was the sole source of resistance as Trent Boult and Brad Scott knocked over the rest of the Auckland lineup while conceding 61 runs.
With a handful of runs needed for victory in the final two overs, Boutl got Adams for nought and Scott also removed Bates for no score at the other end to bring Auckland's innings to an end with eight balls to spare.