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Prajakta Pawar in Centurion

Looking forward to the next stage: Hira

Aces’ spinner eager to play in CLT20 main event after his team’s passage

The Auckland Aces were the first team to qualify for the CLT20 2012 after beating Hampshire at the Supersport Park here. After beating the Sialkot Stallions last evening, the Auckland beat the Friends Life t20 champions by eight wickets today to enter the main event.

Ronnie Hira who reached a personal landmark of 50 wickets in Twenty20s during the course of the match ably supported Man-of-the-Match Azhar Mahmood in restricting the opposition to 121. The left-arm spinner claimed two wickets in the Aces’ thumping victory.

While speaking to clt20.com after the game, Hira discussed his team and performance.

Excerpts from the interview:

Your team is the first to qualify for the main event

We are a pretty excited at the moment. Last year was pretty disappointing against Kolkata Knight Riders and Somerset; but a year on we are a bit wiser. Azhar Mahmood played well today and he has carried us home.

Did the Auckland Aces consciously exploit the known English weakness against spin today?

No, I don’t think so. We only bowled four overs of spin today. We do have depth in our bowling and we showed that we are more than capable with the bat. We are looking forward to the game at the end of the week and starting the tournament proper. We are the first team from New Zealand to win the qualifiers. We are looking forward to the next stage.

Did the pitch have anything in it for the spinners? How did it play?

It played pretty well today. The deck here needs getting used to. I think the conditions are similar to home, so I think the batsmen played well and we showed today with Martin Guptill, Azhar and Lou Vincent that we can score runs.  The top three batsmen did it for us; we have got depth in our batting as well.

With his ample experience what kind of confidence does Azhar Mahmood bring to the team?

He has played over 100 Twenty20 games. He has got a fiver today and he got 100 for us in our domestic competition. He has been playing well for us and gives us a lot of confidence.

You personally achieved a landmark of fifty wickets today

Fifty wickets. It was nice to bowl well again today. I think I bowled well last night, though I went for runs in my last over. But that is the way Twenty20 goes. I am looking forward to what is going to happen next. Things are going to go pretty fast. The last few weeks have been good preparation and hopefully we can continue.

You bowled very well as a team, but the fielding was above par too. How have you been working on it?

The boys have been here for a while. They have been training; but we have got natural guys who field like Martin and Lou and the rest of us field pretty well too. We are going to take confidence from how we played today and yesterday and we are going to have a good look at how we are going to go next week. 

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