The Northern Knights 200-7 (Daniel Harris 56, Scott Styris 43) beat the Auckland Aces 160-9 (Craig Cachopa 47, Anton Devcich 3-21) by 40 runsThe SKYCITY Northern Knights calmly despatched the Auckland Aces for the second time in three days to drown out taunts that they have been the traditional back end losers of the HRV Twenty20.
Having won the toss and batted, the Knights got off to a steady start at Seddon Park, pro Dan Harris clipping an efficient half-century off 35 balls - the first player in the competition to score three fifties in a season. He was briefly joined by Kane Williamson, who produced a sparkling, if short, cameo in his first game for the Knights this season to have the Knights sitting on a sturdy platform of 123/4 at the three-quarters mark.
Harris’s dismissal then gave Scott Styris and Daryl Mitchell carte blanche to attack at the death, the pair blasting their 70-run stand off just 32 balls. Styris (43 off 20, 2x4, 4x6) showed shades of his punishing six-hitting spree against the same opponents at Eden Park two days earlier, while Daryl Mitchell showed his emerging class again at Seddon Park with an unbeaten 42 off 19.
Chasing 201, the Aces got off to a disastrous start, losing the wickets of Anaru Kitchen and Gareth Hopkins in Anton Devcich’s opening over. However, the loss of form horse Craig Cachopa (47 off 30) and Colin de Grandhomme (31 off 14) in the middle stages proved the telling blows from which they could not recover, against a searching, four-prong spin attack unafraid to flight the ball.
Devcich picked up 3-21, while Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi also collected three apiece - assisted by sustained pressure from Jono Boult and Kane Williamson. Struggling to 160/9, the Aces found themselves closed out by 40 runs as the Knights headed back to the top of the table to guarantee a place in the finals.