Auckland Aces 220 all out after 48.3 overs (Tim McIntosh 54, Donovan Grobbelaar 49, Luke Woodcock 2-30) lost to the Tulsi Wellington Firebirds 224-6 after 44.3 overs (Michael Pollard 85, Michael Papps 43, Bhupinder Singh 3-35) by four wickets
The Tulsi Wellington Firebirds avenged their loss to the Auckland Aces last week and kept their Ford Trophy hopes alive with a comfortable four wicket victory at Eden Park no.2 this afternoon.
Having restricted the Aces to 220 all out in the first innings, a 134 run opening partnership between Michael Papps (43) and Michael Pollard (85) helped guide the Firebirds to their target after 44.3 overs.
The win sees Auckland bow out of the competition, while the Firebirds will face the Canterbury Wizards on Wednesday, with the winner to join the Northern Knights in the Final on Saturday.
Having won the toss and opted to bat, the Aces got off to a flying start, with Anaru Kitchen (34) and Tim McIntosh (54) racing to 50 without loss after six overs. Their stand ended at 74, with Kitchen the first to go when he was found short of his ground by Tom Blundell in the 11th over.
Unfortunately for the hosts, that would be their largest partnership of the afternoon, with the Firebirds taking wickets at key moments.
Donovan Grobbelaar (49) did his best to steady the ship for the Aces, but the lower-order folded quickly, before he became the last wicket to fall with nine balls remaining.
The Aces had mainly struggle with the spin of Luke Woodcock (2-30) and Jeetan Patel (2-33), while Mark Gillespie and Grant Elliott also took two wickets apiece.
The Firebirds response focussed around their openers, with Papps and Pollard making strong inroads early. By the time the pair had been dismissed, the Firebirds were within 70 runs of victory.
At 151 for two after 25 overs it looked like the Firebirds would cruise to victory, but the Aces fought back, taking a string of cheap wickets to keep their hopes alive.
However, cameos was all it would take for the Firebirds and an unbeaten 25 from Henry Walsh saw them surpass Auckland’s total and extend their season.
Bhupinder Singh had been the most effective of the bowlers for the Aces, claiming figures of three for 35 from 10 overs.