Aces cruise to victory over Canterbury in T20 clash after solid half century from Robbie O'Donnell




A Robbie O'Donnell half-century has guided Auckland to a four-wicket win over Canterbury and a spot in the Super Smash Twenty20 cricket play-offs.

O'Donnell scored a career-high 55, his second fifty of the T20 season, as the Aces chased down the target of 146 with more than two overs to spare at Eden Park Outer Oval.

He and Craig Cachopa shared in a 76-run fourth-wicket partnership that took the home side to the brink of victory.

Cachopa departed on 41 after skying a catch, before O'Connell was clean-bowled by Will Williams having sent the seamer's two previous deliveries to the boundary.

The Kings, sent in to bat on Wednesday, had posted 145-9 thanks largely to a sixth-wicket partnership between wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher and skipper Andrew Ellis.

Ellis had joined Fletcher with the visitors floundering at 33-5.

The pair put on 87 before Ellis, on 40, was caught when he reverse swept a Ronnie Hira delivery straight to the gully fieldsman.

Left-arm spinner Hira, at one stage on a hat-trick, ended with 4-26 and he also produced the direct hit that ran out Fletcher for 46.

The win meant the Aces consolidated second spot on the table and, with one match left to play, are guaranteed to finish the round-robin phase in the top three.

The Kings remain third, but have defending champions Wellington and the Central Stags close behind them.

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