David Warner, the Winnipeg Hawks captain was yet again at his best when he scored 55 to eliminate the Edmonton Royals in chase of 184. The Hawks won the match by a margin of 7 wickets as Warner was at his strokeful best throughout his innings.
A 76-run opening stand between Lendl Simmons and Warner, that came in only eight overs, set the tone for the chase. Simmons raced away to 33 before being dismissed by Kevin O'Brien but a brisk 55-run partnership between Warner and McDermott kept the Hawks on track.
Earlier, asked to bat first, Royals got off to a fiery start thanks to Luke Ronchi and Andre Fletcher, who needed less than five overs to bring up a half-century stand for the opening wicket. The departure of Ronchi didn't have a bearing on the scoring rate as Agha Salman's blitz (44 off 18), which included two sixes and two fours off Hiral Patel in the 10th over, helped Royals past 100 at the half-way stage of the innings.
At 113 for 1 after 10 overs, Royals were looking good for a 200-plus total but regular wickets hampered their progress in the second half. Rayad Emrit managed to pick up a four-wicket haul, as Royals could add only 70 in their last 10 overs.
The Winnipeg Hawks will now play the Vancouver Knights in the second qualifier on Saturday.
Edmonton Royals 183/9 in 20 overs (Agha Salman 44, Andre Fletcher 41; Rayad Emrit 4-28) lost to Winnipeg Hawks 185/3 in 19.5 overs (Ben McDermott 65*, David Warner 55; Agha Salman 1-18) by 7 wickets