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Durban: South African club Nashua Titans put up a convincing performance with both bat and ball, as they defeated the Auckland Aces by 59 runs in a Group A encounter at Kingsmead.
Auckland were in trouble right from the start of their chase. Opener Lou Vincent’s only scoring shot was a monstrous six over long on, before he went on to play away from his body, only to edge the ball to the keeper. Martin Guptill too fell courtesy a miscued stroke. Both openers back in the hut with just ten runs on the board.
Azhar Mahmood came and went, edging the ball straight to the slip fielder. Anaru Kitchen and Colin de Grandhomme struck a few lusty blows, with the former singling out Ethy Mbhalati for special attention. But the team was in dire straits, requiring an approach that mixed caution with aggression. The two however failed to read the signs, and soon fell, while going for the big shots. It was all downhill thereafter, as every Titan bowler managed to pick up a wicket.
No.10 Andre Adams (30) played like he had nothing to lose, swinging his bat to hit two fours and two sixes, to emerge as the best batsman for his side. But he was only delaying the inevitable, as he soon fell to Alfonso Thomas after playing a weak shot, to give his side their first loss in the competition.
Earlier, Auckland skipper Gareth Hopkins won the toss and elected to field. Titans’ openers Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids showed no mercy, going after the bowling from the word go. The left-right combination were offered enough room and encouragement to play their shots, and they did so without batting an eyelid. Between themselves, the two smashed ten fours and a six, before Azhar Mahmood sent down a yorker that torpedoed into Davids’ stumps. Titans 74/1.
Skipper Martin van Jaarsveld then joined hands with Rudolph to take the team’s score to 100, before the former holed out to Martin Guptill off Kyle Mills. Auckland did manage to arrest the momentum a little thereafter, with Jacques Rudolph and Farhaan Behardien dealing mostly in ones and twos. Rudolph (63) made an effort to accelerate, only to send the ball into Andre Adams’ hands.
Behardien turned the heat on Mills in the penultimate over, hitting two sixes and a four, as the South African side raked up 21 runs- their most productive outing in the inning. Azhar Mahmood did look thrifty in the final over, before Man-of-the-Match Behardien (48*) spoiled his figures by hitting a six off the final ball. 172/4 is what they finished with, and that was enough to help them win their second consecutive game of the 2012 Champions League T20.