Wellington cruise home with Murdoch fifty
A 35-ball 61 from Stephen Murdoch charged Wellington to an eight-wicket win with rather ease against Central Districts in Auckland. Chasing 146, Wellington were led by a second-wicket stand of 91 runs in 9.3 overs which helped them collect four points with four overs to spare.
Put in to bat, Central were troubled by pacers Brent Arnel and Dane Hutchinson, who picked up two wickets apiece and conceded 48 runs together in eight overs. George Worker's 50-ball 58 steered the innings along with a 45-run partnership with Jamie How. However, regular wickets dented the middle order and a late 15-ball 20 from Kruger van Wyk lifted them to 145.
Wellington lost Matthew Taylor for a duck before Michael Pollard and Murdoch charged them towards 100. Pollard fell for 44, after hitting four fours and three sixes, and Murdoch and Brad Hodge put together 53 runs in under five overs to take them home.
A half-century from Dean Brownlie, followed by an incisive performance from Northern Districts' bowlers set up the team's 11-run win against Auckland at Eden Park, keeping them firmly at the top of the table. Having been inserted, Northern Districts were precariously placed at 76 for 3 before Brownlie and Daryl Mitchell led a recovery with a 51-run stand. Brownlie struck five fours and three sixes during his 57 off 33 balls, while Mitchell chipped in with a 21-ball 24, lifting the total to a competitive 158 for 7.
Auckland's top and middle-order batsmen all made starts during the chase, but could not build on and string together a meaningful partnership. Donovan Grobbelaar top-scored with 30 and three other batsmen pitched in with twenties, but the team lacked the required acceleration. Ben Laughlin took 2 for 31, while Scott Kuggeleijn and Anurag Verma both went at under five an over, ensuring that Auckland fell just short.
Cam Fletcher's run-out off the last ball of the match meant that Otago held on for a one-run win against Canterbury in Christchurch. Chasing 144, Henry Nicholls' 56 dragged Canterbury to 141 for 6, with three needed from the last two balls. However, Dirk Nannes dismissed Nicholls with the penultimate ball of the match and Fletcher was found short coming back for a second run in the final delivery, as Otago secured their first victory of the competition. Nannes was the pick of the bowlers, collecting 2 for 19, while James McMillan took 2 for 28. Earlier, Ryan ten Doeschate had blasted three fours and four sixes during a 36-ball 63 to help Otago counterattack from a shaky 90 for 5,to make 143 for 7. It helped them negate the early blows inflicted by Canterbury seamer Matt Henry, who had wrecked Otago's top order with 3 for 19.