Nicol, McClenaghan hand Auckland fourth T20 title
Auckland 166 for 6 (Nicol 77, Barnes 3-33) beat Otago 146 for 9 (McCullum 35, Kitchen 29, McClenaghan 3-23) by 20 runs
A crucial contribution from Rob Nicol, followed by a triple strike from Mitchell McClenaghan set up Auckland's 20-run win against Otago, as they lifted the Georgie Pie Super Smash title in New Plymouth. It was, their fourth in domestic history.
Otago's openers - Hamish Rutherford and Anaru Kitchen - added 50 in 33 balls and were well on their way to the target of 167 before McClenaghan took three wickets in four balls to change the course of the final.
After choosing to bat, Nicol anchored Auckland's innings with a 54-ball 77, including eight fours and three sixes, and formed significant stands with the middle order, the largest being 50 for the third wicket with Brad Cachopa, to help post a total of 166 for 6.
Robert O'Donnell provided the innings with the required impetus and momentum with a 10-ball 19. Warren Barnes returned figures of 3 for 33 while Kitchen was most economical, conceding 21 in his four overs.
The chase began in sprightly fashion before Auckland roared back into the game with regular wickets. James Neesham (21 off 17) and captain Nathan McCullum (35 off 21) provided brief resistance but with the required run-rate skyrocketing and wickets tumbling, it was a task too far. Donovan Grobbelaar also picked up three wickets in five balls to ensure there wasn't a late resurgence.
"He's a big occasion player and he stepped up for us there. I felt that they were at parity and it was touch-and-go in terms of someone cleaned up and carried on through, and he just came in and devastated them to be fair, and they never really recovered from that," Auckand captain Rob Nicol said while speaking about McCleneghan's triple-wicket maiden that sent back Otago's top three.