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Prajakta Pawar in Centurion

Happy with our bowling: Hopkins

Aces skipper says his team still needs to work on fielding and batting

With a spot in the semi-finals still up for grabs in Group A, the Auckland Aces will be firing on all cylinders when they take on the Perth Scorchers in the first match of the day at the Supersport Park here on Tuesday.

After their loss to the Titans, the Aces have been working on their skills diligently. With three victories behind them (two in the Qualifiers and one in the main tournament), one of which came on this very ground, the Aces will be a confident bunch. “Yes, we have fond memories of Centurion over the last couple of weeks. I am not sure how the wicket will be, whether it will be similar to the earlier one or not. But the bowlers get confidence here and the batters get confidence as well. So it is a happy hunting ground. But tomorrow is another day; we have to start again from scratch and do what we do well,” captain Gareth Hopkins said ahead of the match.

But, one also has to keep in mind that the side that has nothing to lose is likely to be a more dangerous unit, like the Titans found out in their game against the Kolkata Knight Riders yesterday. Speaking about taking on the Perth Scorchers in a similar situation, Hopkins said, “The Australians are incredibly proud about their cricket and they won’t be looking to get another loss or anything like that. So, we know that they are here to play a game of cricket and we are going to have to be ready for that. “

“It is more about us and what we need to do. It is a must-win match, so we just have to concentrate on that. We can’t control the outcome of the other matches, so what will be, will be,” he stated.

Their loss against the Titans has been their only defeat since they arrived in South Africa for the Karbonn Champions League Twenty20 2012. But the HRV Cup winners have learnt their lessons and have been training hard ahead of their all important last league game. Speaking about their preparation ahead of the must-win game, captain Gareth Hopkins said, “We had a tough game in the last match with the bat. We got bounced out. Quite a few guys got bounced out. I am happy with the bowling. The fielding needs a little bit of work; but yes, mostly [it is the] batting [that we had to work on]. We are spending time batting in the middle and we have worked around and done training and things. But now I am confident [that] the boys are ready.”

Asked if being asked if a couple of days off helped the Aces regroup, he said, “[Yes it helped to] freshen up. We have been working hard in the nets so I guess it does [help a bit].”

“The boys got a little tied up with three games in a row, but the time off helps us restart,” he concluded. 

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