The Auckland Aces, SKYCITY Northern Knights and Canterbury Wizards will be fighting out the 'extra life' qualifier one and two Finals spots in round eight on Wednesday.

Battle for Ford Trophy Finals series places ends Wednesday, Finals begin Sunday

Round six and seven review
The SKYCITY Northern Knights' round six 92 run bonus point win over the Otago Volts, thanks in large part to Daniel Flynn's 135 from 137 balls, helped them join the Auckland Aces in the 'extra life' Finals series spots. The Aces sent a warning to the rest of the competition with a 211 run win over the Devon Hotel Central Stags, with their top order, including Anaru Kitchen (42), Colin Munro (78) and Colin de Grandhomme (60), continuing their fine form. In Christchurch, the Wellington Firebirds upset the Canterbury Wizards by seven wickets thanks to some fine bowling by Scott Kuggeleijn, who returned 5 for 24 from 6.1 overs.

Rain across the country meant no results were possible in round seven. Players were only able to take the field in Dunedin, where the Wizards reached 159 for 4 in 39.5 overs, with debutant Sam Blakely picking up two wickets, before the match was washed out. All teams were awarded two points, which saw the Aces, Knights and Wizards confirm Finals spots, and the Volts' hopes of qualification end.

Preview of this week's matches
The Auckland Aces, SKYCITY Northern Knights and Canterbury Wizards will be fighting out the 'extra life' qualifier one and two Finals spots in round eight on Wednesday. While the current top three avoid playing each other in the final round, only the Aces and Knights can finish in first spot. A Knights slip up against the Wellington Firebirds could see the Wizards leapfrog them into second.

The Firebirds occupy the fourth Finals series spot, but it is still mathematically possible for the Devon Hotel Central Stags to sneak into the Finals with a bonus point win. 

Matches this week:
Wednesday 20 March 2013 (All games start at 11am)
Canterbury Wizards v Devon Hotel Central Stags at Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Otago Volts v Auckland Aces at University Oval, Dunedin
Wellington Firebirds v SKYCITY Northern Knights at Hawkins Basin Reserve, Wellington

Minor Preliminary Finals - Sunday 24 March 2013 (Both games start at 10.30am)
Game A – Qualifier 1 v Qualifier 2
Game B – Qualifier 3 v Qualifier 4 

Note on Minor Preliminary Finals venues:
As the third ANZ Test makes Eden Park No.2 unavailable for Ford Trophy matches this weekend, the Auckland Aces have forfeited home advantage, and will play a possible home Minor Preliminary Final at Seddon Park.

Should the SKYCITY Northern Knights host the Qualifier 3 v Qualifier 4 match, the Aces will lose 'home' advantage and play at Qualifier 2's home venue.

Extended Ford Trophy Finals series format
Final series places are based on positions at the completion of the eight round robin matches.  The home team is named first and the top two ranked teams effectively have two lives during the preliminary finals: 

Minor Preliminary Finals - Sunday 24 March
Game A – Qualifier 1 v Qualifier 2
Game B – Qualifier 3 v Qualifier 4 

Major Preliminary Final – Wednesday 27 March
Game C – Loser Game A v Winner Game B 

Ford Trophy Final – Sunday 31 March
Winner Game A v Winner Game C  

All finals matches will start at 10.30am.

Positions at the end of the round robin are determined by total points (including bonus points).
If teams are tied on the same total points, the following applies: 
i. - The team with the most number of wins
ii. - The team with the most number of wins over the other team (or teams if more than two teams are equal after applying i.)
iii. - The team with the highest number of bonus points
iv. - The team with the highest net run rate

With Thanks To

ANZ
Ford Tui Active Post HRV Specsavers CCC
Sky Pitch Radio Network TAB Gillette Accor Hotels