Guptill ton puts Aces In charge

Mondiale Auckland Aces, 385-5 (Guptill 111, Nicol 69, Craig Cachopa 70, Colin Munro 79 not out) beat Mighty Ape Wellington Firebirds 192 in 33.4 overs (Elliott 77, Woodcock 50; Bates 3-25 off 7, McClenaghan 3-30 off 7.4) by 193 runs at Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland

ICC Cricket World Cup contender Martin Guptill makes an early statement with a century in the opening round of the 2014/15 Ford Trophy

In an opening round destined for several chapters in next year’s Almanack, the Mighty Ape Wellington Firebirds were left ruing their decision to send the Mondiale Auckland Aces in on a fine Auckland day on the outer oval.

Martin Guptill led the way for his side, batting solidly almost 40 overs for his 111. While he coolly went about his work, he was relentlessly supported by Rob Nicol, Craig Cachopa and an unbeaten Colin Munro, whose blistering strokeplay all resulted in damaging half centuries, the combination of which saw the Aces power to 385-5 — an imposing chase set for the visitors.

However, the Firebirds promptly dug an even bigger hole for themselves by losing four top order wickets quickly in reply, three falling to Michael Bates and one to Mitchell McClenaghan inside the first seven overs.

After such a collapse, even the crafty experience of Grant Elliott (77 off 69), a positive Luke Woodcock (a run-a-ball 50) and a last gasp, big-hitting cameo from born fighter Mark Gillespie couldn’t save them as they were bundled out for 192 — losing by 193 runs against the consistent Aces attack.

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