Auckland Aces Out Of CLT20 After Perth Scorchers Defeat
Perth Scorchers 140-7 (Collingwood 38) beat
Auckland Aces 124-8 by 16 runs
CLT20 Group A, Centurion Park
Perth Scorchers ended their Champions League Twenty20 campaign by beating Auckland Aces by 16 runs at Centurion Park, knocking New Zealand's representatives out of the competition in the process.
Perth worked hard to reach 140 for seven on a slow pitch and their bowlers then produced an effective performance to hold Auckland to 124 for eight in reply.
As a result of Perth's win, Delhi Daredevils and Nashua Titans qualified for the semi-finals along with Group B winners Sydney Sixers and runners-up Highveld Lions.
Perth's innings suffered a faltering start when Herschelle Gibbs followed up a boundary by driving Michael Bates to Colin Munro at mid off having made just six.
Left-handers Marcus North (37) and Simon Katich (21) then repaired things, taking time to get used to a pitch that offered plenty to the bowlers.
North struck four fours and hit a six before taking on a single that was never there, run out by a direct hit from Kyle Mills and Katich fell soon after when he was bowled around his legs by left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira.
Paul Collingwood and Tom Beaton had been drafted in for this match - with Perth having nothing but pride to play for - in place of Shaun and Mitchell Marsh and they put together an excellent half-century partnership.
Beaton hit a four and a six in his 22 in 19 balls while Collingwood found the gaps with precision, hitting five fours on the way to 38 in 27 balls.
An excellent yorker from Bates saw off Beaton and Auckland finished their bowling effort strongly as three wickets fell in the final over - also bowled by Bates.
First, Luke Ronchi (1) was caught by Martin Guptill, Collingwood was run out, inexcusably not even grounding his bat as he tried for a second run and then Joe Mennie was caught by Hira, enabling the impressive left-armer Bates to finish with four for 34.
With the pitch forcing batsmen to take time and settle in, Lou Vincent went the same way as Gibbs had when he tried to force the issue only to be caught by Ronchi off Ryan Duffield for two in nine balls.
Guptill (36 in 32 balls) and Azhar Mahmood (23 in 21 balls) promptly launched a counter-attack, Guptill in particular punishing some errant Perth bowling with some crunching boundaries straight down the ground to help Auckland reach 28 for one when the fielding restrictions were lifted.
He continued to make good progress, welcoming Brad Hogg into the attack with a boundary before falling to Hogg's less experienced spin partner Michael Beer. He advanced down the track and his attempted big hit was edged to Ronchi, who took a neat catch and at the halfway stage, Auckland were 62 for two and the game wide open - not least because Perth had hit exactly the same score after their 10 overs.
Hogg looked like he was struggling but with the last ball of his third over he grabbed his first wicket of the competition, that of the dangerous Anaru Kitchen who was well caught in the deep by Beaton for six.
An even better catch was to follow three balls later when Gibbs dived to his right and plucked the ball out of the air to intercept a firm drive by Mahmood as Beer grabbed his second wicket and Auckland slipped to 71 for four.
Colin de Grandhomme was run out by Ronchi for four and his dismissal mirrored that of North's earlier in the day, trying to pinch a single behind the wicket. Beer then struck again to have Gareth Hopkins bowled for nine as the pressure mounted on the New Zealanders.
Mennie then bowled Hira for two and had Munro trapped in front for 23 in 18 balls to effectively end Auckland's challenge.
Beer finished with three for 13 and Mennie two for 23 as Perth claimed their first win of the competition at the final time of asking.
© Cricket World 2012
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