Aces into Champs League main draw
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 7:34a.m.
Allrounder Azhar Mahmood shone with bat and ball as Auckland beat Hampshire to qualify for the main draw of the lucrative Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.
The Aces beat the English county by eight wickets in Centurion on Thursday (NZT) to notch a second qualifying win following their six-wicket defeat of Pakistan's Sialkot Stallions.
Former Pakistan international Mahmood took stunning figures of 5-24 as Hampshire were restricted to 121-8.
He then raced to an unbeaten 55 off 31 balls, striking five fours and four sixes as the Aucklanders reached 123-2 in just 14.3 overs.
Other Auckland players were largely eclipsed although opener Martin Guptill impressed with his 38 off 31 balls while spinner Ronnie Hira took 2-25.
Victory sends the New Zealand side into the group stage of the event while Hampshire and Sialkot are both eliminated.
Auckland's first Champions League group match will be against the Sydney Sixers in Cape Town on Tuesday next week.
Matches then follow against Mumbai Indians (India), Highveld Lions (South Africa) and Chennai Super Kings (India).
The tournament winners will claim NZ$3.1 million in prize money.
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