HYDERABAD, India, CMC-IANS – Auckland Aces were eliminated from the Champions League Twenty20, after they went down to Somerset by four wickets in a thrilling last-ball finish yesterday here.
Opting to bat first, Auckland Aces riding on Lou Vincent’s unbeaten 47 made 125, and Somerset achieved the target off the last ball, after James Hildreth made 34 and Steve Snell remained unbeaten on the same score in the Pool-B qualifying match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Both the teams had trouble batting on a sluggish surface, but Vincent and Aces captain Gareth Hopkins helped the New Zealand side recover, after Somerset’s slow bowlers made the best use of the surface and reduced them to 14 for three.
The 49-run stand between Vincent and Hopkins, who made 22, was the only notable partnership for Aces, as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
Somerset made a steady start, but none of the top-order batsmen, barring Hildreth, could convert the good starts that they got.
Hildreth and Snell stitched a crucial, 61-run, sikxth-wicket partnership to take Somerset home to a thrilling win.
Somerset needed 20 runs off the last two overs, but both Snell and Hildreth held their nerves to score 15 runs off the penultimate over.
Snell edged the first ball for a four and got a single from the second before Hildreth cut Mills for another four between keeper and short third man.
Mills then spilled a return catch off the next delivery, and Hildreth edged another four before ending the over with a two off the last ball to put Somerset on the threshold of a win.
Hildreth was run out off the penultimate ball of the match, and Somerset captain Alfonso Thomas took a single off the last ball to give his team a vital win.