|Azhar Mahmood of Auckland Aces celebrates the wicket of Hampshire’s
James Vince, on Wednesday
Centurion: Veteran all-rounder Azhar Mahmood grabbed five wickets and struck a half-century as Auckland Aces thrashed Hampshire by 8 wickets to qualify for the main draw of the Champions League T20, here, on Wednesday.
In another match, Yorkshire rode on Gary Ballance and Adil Rashid’s batting heroics to qualify for the main draw of the tournament with a comfortable six-wicket win over Trinidad and Tobago
Talking about the Auckland’s match, Mahmood made inroads into the Hampshire top-order as Auckland bundled out the English county team for a modest 121 in 20 overs.
Mahmood then smashed an unbeaten 31-ball-55 to steer his side to a comfortable win with 33 balls to spare. He hit five sixes and four boundaries.
Auckland have thus become the first team to qualify for the main tournament, starting Saturday. The New Zealand T20 champions have won both their qualifying matches, having beaten Sialkot Stallions on Tuesday.
Two teams — one each from Pool 1 and 2, will join the eight other teams for the main competition.
The result of Wednesday’s match means that the final match of the Pool 1 between Sialkot Stallions and Hampshire has been reduced to a dead rubber as the two teams are now out of race for a spot in the competition.
Mahmood, who is now a British passport holder, ripped apart the Hampshire top-order when he removed James Vince (11) and Jimmy Adams (0) in a space of four balls.
Then he dismissed dangerous the Shahid Afridi for nought in his next over to leave Hampshire reeling at 28 for three inside sixth over.
Left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira (2/25) got rid of Sean Ervine (16) and Glenn Maxwell (11) to add on to the misery of British County team.
Mahmood saw the back of Liam Dawson (11) and Dmitri Mascarenhas (0) to complete his tally.
Martin Guptill (38) and Lou Vincent (19) gave a good start to Auckland by putting up a 49-run stand inside sixth over.
Chris Woods had Vincent caught by Jimmy Adams to get his side the first breakthrough but the match had already slipped out of their hands by then.
Mahmood joined Guptill in the middle and they quickly put on a 41-runs partnership. Afridi broke the stand by removing Guptill. But Mahmood stayed till the end to see his side through.
Shifting our focus to the match between Yorkshire and Trinidad and Tobago, Ballance (64 off 37) and Rashid (33 off 27) lifted Yorkshire from a difficult position with an unbeaten 103-run fifth wicket partnership to reach the target of 149.
Ballance struck as many as six sixes and two fours while Rashid laced his innings with three hits to the fence and one over-boundary.
With two wins from as many games, Yorkshire stormed into the main draw of the tournament from Pool 2. Trinidad, unfortunately, have crashed out of the event after just one outing, which means their final match against Uva Next becomes inconsequential.
Earlier, Denesh Ramdin led from the front with a scintillating half-century while Darren Bravo scored a vital 45 to help Trinidad and Tobago post a competitive 148 for nine.
Ramdin scored 59 off 40 deliveries, while Bravo’s 45 came off 49 balls as they combined beautifully to rescue Trinidad from a precarious position with a 93-run fourth wicket partnership.
Hampshire 121/8 in 20 ovs (Azhar Mahmood 5/24, Ronnie Hira 2/25). Auckland Aces 123/2 in 14.3 ovs (Mahmood 55 not out). Auckland won by 8 wickets.
Trinidad & Tobago 148/9 in 20 overs (Darren Bravo 45, Denesh Ramdin 59, Ryan Sidebottom 3/13). Yorkshire 154/4 in 20 overs (Gary Ballance 64 not out, Adil Rashid 33 not out). Yorkshire won by 6 wickets