Mahmood blasts Auckland through, Hampshire out
Auckland 123 for 2 (Mahmood 55*) beat Hampshire 121 for 8 (Carberry 65, Mahmood 5-24) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Azhar Mahmood produced a remarkable all-round performance to send Auckland through to the main draw of the Champions League. His unbeaten 55 blazed Auckland's trail to a target his 5 for 24 had ensured was paltry. Their second victory wrapped up Pool 1, with Hampshire and Sialkot now unable to qualify.
Despite their schedule in the qualifying tournament lasting two days, Auckland had spent two weeks in South Africa and their preparations proved worthwhile as they became the first New Zealand team to make the main draw of the Champions League.
Mahmood benefitted from bowling and batting at the right time. With the ball in the first innings, he was able to use a pitch that began a touch sticky to induce five loose shots, but the surface was more conducive to clean hitting in the second innings. Mahmood slammed four sixes in his 31-ball knock and became the fifth player to score fifty and take five wickets in a Twenty20.
His performance handed Auckland a second victory at a canter. The target was largely conquered before Mahmood's innings in a Powerplay where Auckland scored 50 for 1. Hampshire by contrast had limped to 29 for 3 in their first six overs. The difference was that Hampshire bowled too full. Martin Guptill and Lou Vincent filled their boots; Vincent disappointed to slap the final ball of the sixth over to extra cover, and Guptill hung his head after swinging Shahid Afridi to long on, both following entertaining innings.
But Azhar Mahmood ensured Auckland did not just meander to the target. He lifted Chris Wood over the leg side for his first six in the eighth over, and added further maximums with a slog sweep off Afridi and a heave over long-on and slap over extra cover against Liam Dawson - the second of which found the swimming pool.
The match was a major anti-climax for Hampshire. In 2010, they announced a grand deal with Rajasthan to form a global franchise with clubs from other countries, setting up a travelling circus of money-spinning tournaments. But all that materialised of that deal was Hampshire becoming the "Royals," in line with the Indian franchise.
On the back of that deal, Hampshire would have expected to be performing on a world stage sooner than the 2012 Champions League. This was their first appearance in the competition but their active participation lasted just 34.3 overs.
Auckland's comfortable victory against Sialkot presented them with a chance to confirm their passage into the main draw of the tournament and they did so with a second chase that was set up by another miserly display with the ball.
The seamers again enjoyed the surface after Gareth Hopkins had won another toss. It was slower that Wanderers and at first offered tennis-ball style bounce. As such, timing was difficult for the batsman. Clean hitting in the first innings was at a premium and the method of dismissals demonstrated their struggles.
James Vince managed to time one six into the stands but his second attempt found mid-on from high on the bat; Jimmy Adams drove loosely outside off and edged behind; and Shahid Afridi - at No. 4 despite his very poor recent form - Sean Ervine and Glenn Maxwell all perished to catches in the deep. The damage was 77 for 5 in the 14th over.
Hampshire's debut rather flashed them by and it took Michael Carberry to prevent total disaster. Carberry's timing was horrendous for the majority of his 65-ball innings but he stuck it out and made a half-century that put something on the board for Hampshire. He took nine runs off Kyle Mills' opening over - three more than Mills conceded in four overs against Sialkot - with a gloved hook that went for six encapsulating the batsmen's struggles on a slightly underprepared wicket.
Carberry tried to lay a platform but batting didn't get easier. He was alone though in hanging around and working the bowling to accumulate a score. Slogging as the entire middle order did was a waste of time. Carberry managed some acceleration with two boundaries in Andre Adams' final over and two more as Michael Bates closed the innings.
He fell trying to swing Mahmood over long-on and it was he that profited most from the errant strokes of much of the Hampshire order, returning 5 for 24 - his best figures in a Twenty20. The wickets of Vince and Adams came in his first over; four balls of his second were enough to lure Afridi into a slog. His final over saw Liam Dawson backing away and slapping to extra cover and Dimitri Mascarenhas carving a full ball to deep cover point. He could have have had a six-for but spilled a catch running back from his final delivery.
Mahmood copped a fine at the end of the match. He was reprimanded, and fined US$1000, for breaching the tournament's code of behaviour after dismissing Dawson. Mahmood pleaded guilty to a code relating to, "pointing or gesturing towards the pavilion in an aggressive manner by a bowler or other member of the fielding side upon the dismissal of a batsman."
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo