Mahmood Does It Again As Auckland Keep On Winning
Auckland Aces 139-3 (Azhar Mahmood 51no) beat
Kolkata Knight Riders 137-6 by 7 wickets
CLT20 Group A, Cape Town
Another superb all-round performance from Azhar Mahmood stole the headlines as Auckland Aces handed Kolkata Knight Riders a second straight Champions League Twenty20 defeat in Cape Town.
Kolkata were looking to bounce back following a defeat against Delhi Daredevils but they were outplayed by New Zealand's finest, going down by seven wickets.
Mahmood took two wickets in two balls to plunge Kolkata's first innings into crisis and although they recovere to post a 137 for six, it was a score that never looked like being enough.
It proved to be far short of that as Mahmood blasted 51 not out in 42 balls to help his side home in 17.4 overs.
However, this was far from a one-man show from the Aces, whose teamwork and discipline were again to the fore.
Bowling first having lost the toss, Kyle Mills and Michael Bates had Manvinder Bisla (38) and Gautam Gambhir (5) groping outside off stump as they extracted plenty of movement, Gambhir not lasting long before popping a catch to Martin Guptill at short cover.
It took a no ball from Mills to finally help Kolkata break the shackles, Bisla hitting the resulting free hit for a boundary and going to hit six fours and a six in all.
He found an ally in Brendon McCullum, who hit 40 in 35 balls, with three fours and two sixes to kickstart the innings before Mahmood struck to remove first Jacques Kallis and Manoj Tiwary without scoring in the tenth over; this coming after Bisla had fallen to Ronnie Hira at the end of the ninth.
From 72 for four, damage limitation and recovery was the order of the day and McCullum played his part, aided by Shakib Al Hasan (15) and once they had got things back on track, Yusuf Pathan was given license to bludgeon his way to 22 not out in 19 balls as Kolkata at least finished stronger than they had started.
Mahmood chipped in with McCullum's wickets to return three for 16 with Mills, Bates and Hira taking one apiece.
Auckland then got off to a flying start thanks to Lou Vincent, who raced to 30 in 12 balls by hitting three fours and two sixes, Kolkata unable to exact any sort of control in the early stages. He fell at the end of the third over when he was caught by Tiwary off Narine.
Mahmood then strode to the crease and along with Guptill pushed the score along to 76 when the former fell for 25, caught by Narine off Lakshmipathy Balaji.
Mahmood made a relatively calm start to his innings, picking up singles on offer before taking on the bowlers once he had settled. He left the big hitting during the third-wicket partnership to Anaru Kitchen who helped himself to three fours and a six on his way to 24 in 15 balls.
Upon his departure Mahmood took on the responsbility of finishing the game. In the 16th over he hit Pradeep Sangwan for a four and a six and then ended things emphatically with a pull shot that both got him to a half-century and won the game.
Colin de Grandhomme was unbeaten at the other end on six.
© Cricket World 2012
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