Cricket: Aces knocked out of Champions League

Auckland fell short in their quest to reach the Champions League Twenty20 semifinals in South Africa, after a 16-run defeat to the Perth Scorchers this morning.

The Aces needed to beat Perth and hope the Delhi Daredevils beat the Nashua Titans in the other Group A match to have any chance of qualifying for the final four but they failed in the first part of that equation. Delhi and Nashua progress from Group A.

Chasing the Perth's first innings score of 140 for seven, the Aces reached 124 for eight in their 20 overs.

Martin Guptill and Azhar Mahmood put on 59 for the second wicket to leave Auckland on 61 for one after nine overs but their momentum was halted thanks to a devastating spell from Michael Beer who finished with three for 13 off four overs.

The wily spin bowler captured both batsmen, firstly having Guptill caught behind on 36 before snaring Mahmood in the 12th over for 23.

To compound matters, the Aces also lost both Anaru Kitchen and Colin de Grandhomme cheaply, leaving them struggling at 75 for five after 12.3 overs.

Auckland needed 60 runs from 36 balls to win but lost regular wickets. Captain Gareth Hopkins was bowled by Beer for nine before Colin Munro provided some late hope with 19 off the 17th over to bring the equation back to 34 from 18 balls.

When he went for 23 in the following over, the match was effectively over.

Earlier, the Aces bowling attack put in decent bowling performance to restrict Perth to 140-7 but four of the top five batsmen made starts - Marcus North (37), Simon Katich (21), Paul Collingwood (38) and Tom Beaton (22) - meaning they were always well placed.

Kyle Mills was the most economical with his four overs going for just 13 but Bates was main wicket-taker with four for 34.

- APNZ

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