CANTERBURY beat the AUCKLAND ACES by 13 runs
28 February 2021
Mainpower Oval, Rangiora
- Cole McConchie: 50th List A match for Canterbury
- Tom Latham: 5000 List A runs when reaching 90
- Tom Latham: 7th List A Century (3rd for Canterbury)
- Tom Latham: Canterbury's second fastest List A century (63 balls)
With a healthy points and net run rate lead, Canterbury was already in the ideal position heading into a home Grand Final, but they weren't about to let a chance to formally oust the defending champions go by - even in a sharp, much shortened match.
The Auckland Aces had been one of five teams still in contention heading in to the last day of the regular season, but it would be a long wait for either side to get on the park and sort out the final standings, four hours until the ground dried out sufficiently due to moisture around the bowlers' run-up areas.
Now a 29-over game, Canterbury captain Cole McConchie won the toss in his 50th cap match for his side and elected to bat.
Aces left-arm spinner Louis Delport opened the attack with left-arm paceman Ben Lister and started impressively, his first three overs going for just seven runs in the powerplay.
Lister meanwhile had Chad Bowes caught in the deep off his third delivery of the afternoon, and Ross ter Braak soon had Ken McClure in the seventh.
A good start for the Aces that was about to come tumbling down thanks to experienced Canterbury duo Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham combining.
The BLACKCAPS pair put on 51 for the third wicket and Nicholls (49) drew within one run of a quick half century before Ollie Pringle found the base of his off-stump.
But Latham was unrattled, piercing gaps and finding boundaries en route to an unbeaten 118* off 75 balls - the second fastest ton in his side's List A history.
Short game? No problemo as he ensured Canterbury plastered on 238/5 from the mere 29 overs.
The Aces got remarkably close under the circumstances, Graeme Beghin (42) and Cole Briggs (29) taking 52 from the first five overs alone. The form horse Will O’Donnell then hit a four and a six off spinner McConchie to get his innings underway as he began work on yet another half century - his seventh of the summer, a record for most half centuries in a List A Domestic season, from just 10 games.
But meanwhile veteran legspinner Todd Astle (3-32) turned the game on its head, taking three wickets in his first four overs - including two from back-to-back deliveries in the 14th over.
O’Donnell remained, and with ter Braak (32 off 37) kept the visitors in the difficult chase.
But suddenly the top wicket-taker of the competition did it again for Canterbury: Will Williams had ter Braak caught in the deep, then a tidy over from Sean Davey left the Aces needing 42 from the final 24 balls as things started to look steep.
Williams then delivered another fine over and claimed was the big wicket of O’Donnell (79).
Led by Williams at the death, the Canterbury bowlers had closed out the game brilliantly - not conceding any boundaries between the 24th and 27th overs. The Aces did well to finish on 225/8, falling just short in their last chance to defend the Ford Trophy.