Mahmood shines for Auckland Aces

Kiwi side beats Hampshire by eight wickets to qualify for main draw

Veteran all-rounder Azhar Mahmood grabbed five wickets and struck a half-century as Aukland Aces thrashed Hampshire by eight wickets to qualify for the main draw of the Champions League T20 here on Wednesday.

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.

The Pakistan discard hit five sixes and four boundaries during his innings.

Auckland has thus become the first team to qualify for the main tournament, starting on Saturday.  The New Zealand T20 champions have won both their qualifying matches, having beaten Sialkot Stallions on Tuesday night.

The result of Wednesday’s match means that the final match of the Pool I 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 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 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.

In the day’s second match, Yorkshire too qualified for a place in the main draw after posting a six-wicket win over Trinidad & Tobago.

Brief scores: Hampshire: 121/8 in 20 overs (Michael Carberry 65; Azhar Mahmood 5-24, Ronnie Hira 2-25) lt to Auckland Aces: 123/2 in 14.3 overs (Martin Guptill 38, Azhar Mahmood 55 n.o.).

Trinidad & Tobago: 148/9 in 20 overs (Darren Bravo 45, Denesh Ramdin 59; Ryan Sidebottom 3-13) lt to Yorkshire: 154/4 in 18.5 overs (Gary Ballance 64 n.o., Adil Rashid 33 n.o.).

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