Clarkson guides Central Districts to dramatic win
Central Districts 135 for 7 (Clarkson 64*, Bates 4-28) beat Auckland 134 for 5 O'Donnell 51*, Nicol 39, Mathieson 3-18) by three wickets
Central Districts came from behind to stun Auckland and surge to the top of the points table in New Plymouth. Chasing a competitive 135, Central Districts were reduced to 27 for 5 in the sixth over - the top-five batsmen were dismissed for single-digit scores. However, 18-year-old Josh Clarkson stabilised the chase with a 43-run stand with Kruger van Wyk. The ebbs and flows were not done just yet as left-arm seamer Michael Bates struck twice for Auckland to leave the chase at 99 for 7 in the 17th over. But Clarkson was still there and he stayed there till the end. His 36-run partnership in just 16 balls with No.9 Marty Kain was the final swing of the pendulum as Central Districts won by three wickets and six balls to spare.
Clarkson finished with an unbeaten 64 off 48 balls, an innings that featured four fours and four sixes. Bates picked up figures of 4 for 28 while fellow left-armer Donovan Grobbelaar chipped in with two wickets off two overs.
Earlier, Auckland lost their openers within the first three overs after being put in to bat before Rob Nicol and Colin Munro steadied the ship. The score was being ushered towards fifty when Andrew Mathieson ended Munro's seven-ball 20 in the seventh over and followed it up with the wicket of Colin de Grandhomme two balls later.
Robert O'Donnell, playing his first T20 match, added 65 runs with Nicol before before Mathieson intervened again to remove Nicol for 39 off 47 balls. Acceleration thereafter was limited - only 25 runs came off the final 16 balls - but O'Donnell did make a fifty to help Auckland to 134 for 5. Mathieson finished with figures of 4-1-18-3.