2018 ELIMINATION FINAL
Auckland Aces beat Canterbury at Colin Maiden Park, Auckland on 21 February 2018
The Auckland Aces produced a dominant display against Canterbury to book a spot in the Ford Trophy Grand Final against the Central Stags on Saturday at Pukekura Park.
Aces captain Craig Cachopa won the toss and elected to bat first.
Despite losing Glenn Phillips (11) early on, Jeet Raval (149) and Sean Solia (28) kept the runs flowing for the Aces putting on 82 for the second wicket.
Raval was in great touch for the Aces, rotating the strike and bringing up his half century in quick time.
Cachopa (37) came to the crease and continued the good work of the top order, combining with Raval to take the Aces to 189 for three to set his side up for a big score.
Raval was looking unstoppable, carting the bowlers to all parts of the ground, including a crazy moment when he slapped the ball back at bowler Andrew Ellis with the ball deflecting off Ellis's head for six!
The ball was initially signalled as a boundary but upgraded, adding insult to injury for Ellis as he entered the attack. Raval had hit him for six the previous delivery, too, and although there was immediate concern for Ellis from the Aces with fears he may have been injured or concussed, tough nut Ellis passed a concussion test and resumed bowling.
Raval said later that his initial reaction was one of concern, fearing injury.
"Whenever anybody gets hit in the head, your immediate concern is for the person and I was worried Andrew had hurt himself. But thankfully it soon looked like he hadn't been injured by what had seemed a nasty blow. He's a true Cantab, a very tough nut, and it was a relief for me to see him carry on and complete the game without any visible effects. My hope for him is that he won't experience any delayed concussion. It's certainly not pleasant for anyone to experience that in a game."
Robbie O’Donnell (40) joined Raval in the later part of the innings, the pair turning the screws by adding 87 off just 60 balls to bring the Aces closer to 300.
Raval’s excellent knock eventually came to an end at the end of the 48th over on a career best 149, his innings including 10 boundaries and four maximums. It was his first List A ton for the Aces and just the second of his overall Ford Trophy career.
The Aces finished their innings 304 for six, leaving Canterbury with a mountain to climb.
Michael Pollard (47) and Michael Davidson (25) got the visitors' chase off to the ideal start by putting on 69 runs at above run-a-ball pace to keep their side on track.
Sean Solia (2-25) and Jamie Brown (1-20) had other ideas.
Solia picked up Davidson before Brown bounced out the in-form Henry Nicholls for a duck to bring the Aces right back into the contest.
Solia continued the good work, picking up the dangerous Pollard to leave the match on a knife’s edge at 87 for three.
Tom Latham (29) and Todd Astle (42) steadied the ship for the visitors putting on 51 runs for the fourth wicket.
Glenn Phillips (1-23) came into the attack and promptly dismissed Latham with his part-time tweakers to put the Aces in the driver’s seat.
The competition's top wicket-taker, Aces leggie Tarun Nethula (4-43), ultimately took command of the contest, however, ripping through Canterbury’s lower order.
He snared the key rearguard wickets of both Ellis and Astle as the visitors collapsed to 197 all out, leaving the Aces with a 107-run win and a spot in the 2018 Grand Final.
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