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January 6, 2012
Rapid half-centuries from Azhar Mahmood and Martin Guptill, backed up by a tidy, incisive spell from Ronnie Hira, helped hosts Auckland to a 30-run win against Otago that keeps them safely at the top of the HRV Cup points table. Otago chose to bowl and while Nathan McCullum and Dimitri Mascarenhas produced disciplined spells, the rest of their bowlers were very expensive - Auckland finished with 187 for 2, with Guptill making 65 off 45 and Mahmood providing the late thrust with an unbeaten 79 off49.
The Otago batsmen just could not get the required momentum going in the chase. Barring Michael Bates the Auckland bowlers were tight and Hira finished with the pick of the figures: he took 3 for 17 in four, including a double-strike in the eighth over. McCullum and Mascarenhas completed fine all-round showings with rapid cameos towards the end, but the lethargic start meant that was not enough to propel their side home.
Rob Nicol picked up four wickets to carve up Wellington's middle order and help Canterbury to a 61-run win at the Basin Reserve. Wellington chose to field and after solid second-wicket stand between George Worker and Peter Fulton - both players made scores in the 40s - they struck with regularity to keep Canterbury to 151 for 8. Spinner Jeetan Patel, with 3 for 18, was their most effective bowler.
However, they fumbled badly in the chase - no batsman other than James Franklin managed to get into double figures, as they folded for 90 in the 17th over. Nicol, the destroyer-in-chief, ran through the middle order and Wellington could not recover, conceding an easy win to Canterbury.
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