A semi-final berth seems like a distant possibility for Auckland Aces but the New Zealand [ Images ] side will look to keep itself in the calculations by taming the demoralised Perth Scorchers when the two teams lock horns in their final round-robin Champions League [ Images ] Twenty20 [ Images ] match in Centurion on Tuesday.
Auckland had not put a foot wrong in the tournament till they faced the Titans. The New Zealand side started their campaign on a rampaging note winning both their qualifiers comprehensively to make the main draw from pool 1.
They also started the Group A journey with a thumping victory over IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders [ Images ] but the Titans stopped their juggernaut with a 59-run victory and then luck also deserted them as rain washed out their match against the Delhi Daredevils [ Images ] without a ball being bowled.
Auckland are now placed fourth in Group A with six points. Delhi and Titans with 10 and 8 points are already the front-runners to seal a semi-final berth.
Gareth Hopkins's side will look to bring itself into contention with a big victory and also hope that Delhi beat Titans comprehensively in the next match to salvage hopes of a last-minute entry to the semis.
The Aces have so far rode on the all-round performance of former Pakistani player Azhar Mahmood and their opening duo of Martin Guptill [ Images ] and Lou Vincent.
The day they failed, Auckland found themselves in the lurch and the onus would be on them to once again come to their team's rescue.
Kyle Mills [ Images ] and Michael Bates will shoulder the responsibility of delivering with the ball.
Perth Scorchers, on the other hand, have an experienced team with many international players but have failed to make a mark in the tournament.
They started with a loss against Titans and were left disappointed after the heavens opened up in the second game against Kolkata and Sunday's three-wicket loss to Delhi was the final nail in the coffin for them.
The only motivation for the Australian side now will be to spoil whatever chances Auckland have in the tournament with a victory on Tuesday and head back home on a positive note.
Auckland: Gareth Hopkins (c), Andre Adams, Azhar Mahmood, Michael Bates, Bradley Cachopa, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Ronnie Hira, Anaru Kitchen, Mitchell McClenaghan, Bruce Martin, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills, Colin Munro, Lou Vincent.
Perth Scorchers: Marcus North (c), Tom Beaton, Michael Beer, Paul Collingwood [ Images ], Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ryan Duffield, Ben Edmondson, Herschelle Gibbs [ Images ], Brad Hogg [ Images ], Simon Katich [ Images ], Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh [ Images ], Joe Mennie, Nathan Rimmington, Luke Ronch.
Match starts 5pm IST.
Photograph: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images/Getty Images