Cricket: Aces fall to Titans

The Auckland Aces have been beaten by 59 runs in their Champions League Twenty20 match against the Titans at Kingsmead, Durban.

The South African side posted 172 for four from their twenty overs, before proceeding to bowl out the Aces for 113 after 18.1 overs.

Lou Vincent got the pursuit off to a strong start, crunching a 98 metre six over long-on in the first over. His joy was short lived though as he and fellow opener Martin Guptill were dismissed inside the first three overs.

Anaru Kitchen began the recovery for his side with a six off the first ball he faced, as he and Azhar Mahmood looked to put on a meaningful partnership.

Thanks to some powerful hitting from Kitchen, the fifth over produced 15 runs and the Aces were 37 for two. However, the very next ball Mahmood was dismissed for seven when he guided one into the hands of first slip.

Matters for the Aces got worse as wickets fell regularly and the required run-rate began to escalate.

Kitchen went for 23 in the seventh over and was soon followed by Colin Munro (4) and Colin de Grandhomme (14). After 9.3 overs the Aces were facing an uphill battle at 60 for seven.

Andre Adams (30) and Michael Bates (14*) put up some resistance at the end, but realistically were only impacting the team's net run-rate and eventually broke with 11 balls remaining.

Opening bowler Ethy Mbhalati got the Titans off to a great start with the ball and finished with figures of three for 26 from four overs.

Earlier, the Aces had won the toss and opted to bowl first, but failed to produce quick wickets.

Opening batsmen Henry Davids and Jacques Rudolph put the pressure on the bowlers with regular boundaries and made 74 for the first wicket.

Mahmood finally broke through after 8.3 overs when a yorker breached the defences of Davids on 36. Rudolph though continued to prosper and played some remarkable reverse sweeps on his way to 64.

His innings came to an end in the 18th over thanks to a leaping catch from Andre Adams at extra cover. His dismissal though didn't stop some effective late hitting at the end of the innings.

Three sixes and a four in the last two overs from Farhaan Behandien (48*) hurt the Aces and pushed the home side's score beyond the 170 mark.

All of the Aces bowlers went for runs, but Bates's one for 21 from three overs represented the best of his side's figures.

The Aces play the Delhi Daredevils next early on Saturday morning.

- Herald on Sunday

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