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Toss Winner - Northern Knights won the toss and chose to bowl first
Game removed from Super Smash Schedule
Auckland Aces and Northern Knights will both be looking to put the disappointments of last season behind them.
Expect Northern Knights to clinch victory.
Tournament: Super Smash 2021-22 | Format: T20 | Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand | Toss: To BowlBet Now
Auckland Aces and Northern Knights both had a forgettable last season of the Super Smash. While Auckland finished second from the bottom with just 2 wins in 10 games, the Knights ended 4th with 5 wins and 5 losses. They will be facing off in the 2nd match of the new season with the hope of a winning start. Playing at home, Auckland will feel confident but the Northern Knights have enough firepower to take them down.
On paper, Auckland has a solid enough team but they struggled to put up performances when it mattered last time. We can see that from the fact that none of the batsmen from the team made their way into the top 10 leading run-getters board last season.
It will be interesting to see if Martin Guptill, who has been in great form, will appear for the Aces from the first game itself. But it’s unlikely as he has been playing non-stop cricket for the last few months and would be looking for a break. Sean Solia and Glenn Phillips opened the innings for them last season. But Phillips, who is now their third-highest run-getter with 493 runs, is in India for the Test series and his services will be sorely missed by the team. Will O’Donnell at No.3 will be crucial for Auckland’s chances. Mark Chapman and skipper Robert O’Donnell too would have to step up.
Will Somerville (12 wickets) and Ross ter Braak (11 wickets) were the only bowlers from Auckland to feature in the leading wicket-takers list last season. It goes without saying that they will again be looked upon to deliver. Other than them, their bowling unit is a little fragile; especially as Kyle Jamieson would be unavailable.
Sean Solia, William O’ Donnell, Graeme Beghin, Mark Chapman, Robert ODonnell (c), Ben Horne (wk), William Somerville, Danru Ferns, Louis Delport, Ross ter Braak
The Northern Knights would be disappointed with the way things went for them last season. Anton Devcich will again be leading the side and will remain one of their most important batters. He ended the previous season as the Knights’ highest run-scorer with 286 runs, including an incredible unbeaten 75 off 40 balls in their last game against Otago. The other one who is likely to deliver the goods is Tim Seifert who has been in good form recently and has the confidence of a good last season where he amassed 281 runs. All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme will be itching to make his mark as well with his big hitting.
The Knights will be without their regular bowlers Tim Southee and Mitchell Santner, who are both in India for the Test series. Trent Boult too is likely to miss out on the first few games. This leaves their bowling a little short on experience and teeth. A lot will depend on the form of Scott Kuggeleijn and Ish Sodhi. Joe Walker’s off-spin could also come in handy.
Tim Seifert (wk), Katene Clarke, Joe Carter, Colin de Grandhomme, Anton Devcich (c), Brett Hampton, Scott Kuggeleijn, Anurag Verma, Ish Sodhi, Brett Randell/ Matthew Fisher, Joe Walker
The pitch at Auckland is a true T20 surface. Batsmen will enjoy batting here but slow bowlers too should get some purchase as it slows down a little. Since this will be the first game of the season, the wicket should be hard and fresh.
The weather in Auckland on the day of the match is expected to be warm and pleasant.
The highest total achieved at Auckland is 243/6 by New Zealand. The highest total on the venue in the Super Smash is 174/7 by Auckland Aces. That total is likely to be surpassed this season.
The team winning the toss is likely to choose to bowl first as chasing sides have had a better record on this venue.
In the last 5 matches between Auckland Aces and Northern Knights, 4 games have been won by the Knights. They will again begin as favorites for this match even though Auckland will be playing at home. While the Knights may not be that strong in the bowling department, their batting looks dangerous enough to take down the Aces. Without their best batsman Glenn Phillips, Auckland might find it hard to get past a strong Northern Knights.
Expect Northern Knights to clinch victory.
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