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Wisden Cricinfo staff
January 27, 2004
Wellington 210 for 2 (Fleming 120*) beat Northern Districts 209 for 9 by 8 wickets
The margin of victory says it all. Northern Districts, last summer's State Shield champions, were completely outgunned again at the Basin Reserve today when Wellington, guided by another superb century from Stephen Fleming, had too much class for them. The way in which Northern Districts have fallen from grace this year has been stunning. The almost complete collapse of their top-order batting has let them down in nearly every match.
It took another recovery operation by the middleand lower-order batsmen to help the team limp past 200 after Wellington opted to field. Grant Robinson top-scored for Northern Districts with 44, while Mark Gillespie (3 for 39) and Ash Turner (3 for 44) were the most successful bowlers for Wellington. On a good pitch, and with Fleming in the best form of his career, a target of 210 was never going to be much of a bother for Wellington. Fleming and Chris Nevin added 92 for the first wicket, before Nevin was dismissed for a 47-ball 49.
Northern Districts tasted only one more success in the field, as Fleming ended up with an unbeaten 120 to take his team to victory. Wellington's easy win meant that they picked up a bonus point as well, and improved their chances of making it to the semi-final.
Auckland 251 for 6 (Barnes 86, Nicol 78) beat Otago 189 by 62 runs
A 157-run fourth-wicket stand between Rob Nicol and Aaron Barnes was the highlight of Auckland's easy win against Otago. Nicol and Barnes came together after Auckland had stuttered at the start, losing their first three wickets for just 27. Nicol contributed 78 while Barnes bludgeoned five sixes and six fours in his 86, which came off 95 balls. Kyle Mills then provided the final impetus, smashing 40 from 21 balls in the last few overs. Brad Scott (2 for 49) and Warren McSkimming (1 for 39) were the pick of the bowlers.
Otago got off to a poor start, as Craig Cumming was out for a duck. Mohammad Wasim (21) and Chris Gaffaney (35) attempted to hit Otago back into the game but they were dismissed within one run of each other and with them went Otago's chances of making a match of it. Brooke Walker's legspin undid the batsmen - he took 3 for 29 off his 10 overs while Mills completed a good day with 2 for 23 off eight overs.
Canterbury v Central Districts match abandoned
The top-of-the-table match between Canterbury and Central Districts never got started as the drought finally broke in Christchurch with rain forcing the early abandonment of the match.
Points tally (one round remaining) Canterbury 28, Central Districts 25, Auckland 21, Wellington 19, Otago 16, Northern Districts 4.
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