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Canterbury Kings beat the rain, Auckland Aces for overdue Super Smash victory

At Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland: Auckland Aces 140-5 off 20 overs (Robbie O’Donnell 51 off 46, Will O’Donnell 44 off 34; Will O’Rourke 2-31 off 4) lost to Canterbury Kings 48-1 off 5.3 (Ken McClure 32 off 14) at 14 runs (DLS method).

A Ken McClure batting onslaught and the Auckland rain ensured the Canterbury Kings got their stuttering men’s Super Smash campaign back on track on Sunday.

McClure’s three sixes off one Danru Ferns over which cost 23 were decisive as the Kings ended a three-game losing streak with victory over the Aces via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Ken McClure hits out against the Aces.

Shane Wenzlick/Photosport

Ken McClure hits out against the Aces.

Chasing just 141 to win, they were 48-1 in the sixth over and well ahead of the DLS par total of 34 when rain had the final say.

It secured a much-needed four points to keep last season’s beaten finalists in the hunt for their first title since 2006.

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McClure blasted 32 off 14 balls as he and opening partner Chad Bowes put on 46 off 4.1 overs to have Canterbury threatening to win at a canter. Even a comical mix-up in the fifth over which saw McClure run out wasn’t enough to give the hosts a sniff.

Having won the toss and asked the Aces to bat in humid and sunny conditions, the Kings produced an excellent fielding display to restrict the Aces to a below-par 140-5.

Canterbury Kings celebrate the wicket of George Worker.

Shane Wenzlick/Photosport

Canterbury Kings celebrate the wicket of George Worker.

The home side slumped to 41-3 shortly after the power play with George Worker (7 off 12) and Mark Chapman (8 off 8) struggling to find the boundary amid some impressive seam and swing bowling from the visitors.

Only a 76-run partnership from brothers Robbie and Will O’Donnell spared the Aces’ blushes and took them towards a competitive total.

The former struck four fours and one six for his 51 off 46 balls – his seventh Super Smash half-century – while his younger sibling hit four maximums in his belligerent 44 off 34 before being caught holing out in the final over.

The Aces now prop up the table and need to find form quickly to have any chance of making the elimination final.

Big moment

It’s hard to look past McClure’s explosive exploits with the willow in the second over, when he smacked Ferns to all parts of the ground with three maximums and a four in a 22-run onslaught that set the tone for the chase.

That put the Kings well ahead of the eight-ball and they were never likely to lose from there.

Best with the bat

While McClure will earn the plaudits for his destructive 14-ball cameo, the way that Robbie O’Donnell steadily rebuilt the Aces innings before unleashing in the last five overs was equally impressive.

O’Donnell played a real captain’s knock alongside his brother and together they gave the Aces a reasonable total to defend, something that had seemed unlikely when they slipped to 41-3 in the seventh over.

Best with the ball

Young seamer Will O’Rourke took 2-31, including opener Cole Briggs (10 off 12) and captain O’Donnell, and bowled a consistent line and length that asked questions of the batters. He also snared two excellent catches to remove Mark Chapman and Will O’Donnell.

A word too for 20-year-old debutant Zak Foulkes, who took a wicket in his very first over and finished with a tidy 1-26 off his four overs.

Big picture

The Kings (8 points) back up on Friday at Hagley Oval where they take on the Northern Brave (10 points), while the Aces (6 points) welcome the second-placed Stags (14 points) to Eden Park Outer Oval on Saturday.

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