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A stunning bowling spell from young left-armer Ben Lister helped Auckland reverse the result of last year’s elimination final and topple defending Ford Trophy champions Wellington in Sunday’s opening round.
Fresh from a wicketless spell for a New Zealand XI against England, Lister roared into the white ball season with figures of 5-18 off 7.5 overs in the Aces’ four-wicket victory over the Firebirds at Eden Park’s Outer Oval.
The 23-year-old’s previous best return from eight list-A matches was 3-33, and he was into his work early on Sunday with the cheap wickets of Jakob Bhula (9) and skipper Michael Bracewell (0).
After Danru Ferns removed Wellington dangerman Devon Conway (2), Lister returned to clean up the Firebirds’ middle order and dismiss them for 191 in the 45th over.
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Only Jamie Gibson (64 off 99 balls) offered significant resistance for the visitors.
Black Caps Twenty20 openers Colin Munro and Martin Guptill made little impact on return to the Aces, both removed cheaply by Ollie Newton (3-32). Munro (8) chopped on and Guptill (7) skied a catch to third man.
Rob O’Donnell (64 off 79) played the steadying hand Auckland needed then Sean Solia finished the job, his unbeaten 65 seeing the Aces home with 10.4 overs to spare.
At Eden Park Outer Oval, Auckland:
Wellington Firebirds 191off 44.5 overs (Jamie Gibson 64; Ben Lister 5-18, Danru Ferns 3-36) lost to Auckland Aces 195-6off 39.2 overs (Sean Solia 65no, Rob O’Donn
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