Aces victorious in thriller

Aces victorious in thriller

The Auckland Aces have defied the odds and successfully chased down the SKYCITY Northern Knights target of 409, with a rapid century from Colin de Grandhomme getting them across the line. 

The top three were all big contributors for the Aces, with Jeet Raval (55), Martin Guptill (91) and Tim McIntosh (93) all playing their part, The latter two looked to have their side almost cruising, until both were dismissed within the space of three overs. 

That brought together the pair of Colin Munro and de Grandhomme. The former didn’t last long, dimissed for 17, but  he was ably replaced in Gareth Hopkins. 

The skipper played a composed role throughout, making an unbeaten 44 enroute to victory. The real hero though was undoubtedly de Grandhomme, who slammed 16 fours and a six, bringing up his ton after just 109 balls. 

It was an explosive innings and one which saw his side to a six wicket victory after 93.2 overs – just a few before stumps was to be called. 

Day three: SKYCITY Northern Knights 461-4 (Daniel Flynn 188, Joe Carter 95, Colin de Grandhomme 2-55) & 299-4 (Joseph Carter 86, Daryl Mitchell 48*) lead Auckland Aces 352-4 (Martin Guptill 166*,  Gareth Hopkins 77) & 23-0 by 386 runs

The SKYCITY  Northern Knights have set the Auckland Aces 409 to win in their Plunket Shield match at Eden Park No.2, with the home side currently 23 without loss. 

The Aces declared at 352 for four earlier in the day, following an unbeaten 166 from Martin Guptill. The Knights then responded by reaching 299 for five before declaring, leaving an intriguing day four ahead. 

The start of day three saw Guptill and captain Gareth Hopkins (77) put on an unbeaten 154 for the fifth wicket to see the Aces beyond the 350 mark. While personal milestones may have awaited both, Hopkins decided the time was right to declare. 

The Knights top-order was once again dominant, with Joe Carter backing up his first-innings score of 95 with a knock of 86. Alongside cameos from Daryl Mitchell (44) and Bharat Popli (48*), Carter led the Knights to hefty lead of over 400, before Flynn declared with five overs left in the day. 

Guptill and Jeet Raval held strong until stumps and will return for the final day determined to deny the Knights and possibly with with small ambitions of victory. 

Following his first-innings century, one would imagine Guptill will hold the key for the Aces. 

Day two: SKYCITY Northern Knights 461-4 (Daniel Flynn 188, Joe Carter 95, Colin de Grandhomme 2-55) lead Auckland Aces 243-4 (Martin Guptill 121*, Colin de Grandhomme 50)

Martin Guptill scored an unbeaten 121 on the second day of the Auckland Aces Plunket Shield match against the Northern Knights, elevating his side to 243 for four at stumps. 

Earlier, the Knights had declared at 461 for four following a tremendous knock of 188 from Daniel Flynn and unbeaten 103 from Daryl Mitchell. They retain a 218 run lead over their neighbourly rivals heading into day three and will be eager for early wickets tomorrow. 

At the start of day two, Flynn had look destined to bring up a double-century, but fell 12 runs short when bowled by Bruce Martin in the 106th over. 

That didn’t stop the Knights from continuing their progress though, with 22-year Mitchell once again showing what bright prospect he is with his third First-Class century. Following the milestone, captain Flynn called his troops in having claimed maximum first-innings batting points. 

In response the Aces lost the wicket of Jeet Raval (4) cheaply, but managed to make steady inroads for the remainder of the day. 

Colin Munro (36) and Colin de Grandhomme (50) contributed handy cameos and kept the Aces on track for a big first-innings total. However, without a doubt the day belonged to recently recalled BLACKCAP Guptill, who was at his masterful best enroute to his ninth First-Class century. 

He’ll hope to achieve what Flynn could not and reach 200 tomorrow, ideally giving him and his side an advantage heading into the second-innings. 

Day one: SKYCITY Northern Knights 315-2 (Daniel Flynn 162*, Joe Carter 95, Colin de Grandhomme 2-55)

SKYCITY Northern Knights skipper Daniel Flynn's unbeaten 162 has dominated the first day of the match with the Auckland Aces at Eden Park Outer Oval. He was well supported by youngster Joe Carter, who was removed by Colin De Grandhomme five short of his maiden century. 

After handing a cap to debutant Bharat Popli, the Knights set about making the most of great weather and conditions for batting. de Grandhomme snared Brad Wilson after the openers had seen the shine off the ball, brining youngster Joe Cater to the crease. He and Flynn put on 212 for the second wicket, batting throughout the second session. Carter was caught by Jeet Raval from de Grandhomme five short of his hundred, bringing Daryl Mitchell to the crease. He and Flynn saw the Knights through to stumps, to reflect on a great day with the bat. 

The Aces bowlers toiled in the hot sun all day, with de Grandhomme the most successful with 2-55. They'll be looking to turn things around on day two, while Flynn will have a second hundred in his sights.   

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