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January 15, 2012
Auckland maintained their six-point lead over second-placed Canterbury at the top of the table with a eight-wicket demolition of Otago in Dunedin. Martin Guptill and Azhar Mahmood breezed to half-centuries as Auckland knocked off the target of 151 with over two overs to spare. Lou Vincent had given Auckland the start they needed, smashing 31 off 17 deliveries. Guptill and Mahmood took over from there and added 97 to almost see Auckland through. While Mahmood fell for 51 off 39, Guptill was around to hit the winning runs and remained unbeaten on 68 off 47. Otago had earlier managed a start similar to the one Auckland got, but their top order got stuck after getting starts. They were 98 for 1 after 12 overs with Brendon McCullum and Craig Cumming having put on a sedate 54 but McCullum's dismissal for 35 led to a clutch of batsmen falling in the pursuit of quick runs. Kyle Mills and Mahmood picked up two wickets each for Auckland.
Canterbury put in a dominating performance as well, brushing aside Wellington by 70 runs in Christchurch. George Worker anchored the innings with an unbeaten fifty at the top of the order, Rob Nicol did the early running with 48 off 30 and Dean Brownlie provided the finishing touch with 24 off 12. The target of 194 was always going to be stiff for Wellington and they made it tougher for themselves by losing their first three wickets for 29. James Franklin and Grant Elliott brought Wellington back with a 79-run partnership that came off only eight overs but the duo's dismissals in consecutive overs sealed the game in Canterbury's favour. Franklin fell to Nicol 28 while Elliott was run out for 51 after having hit four sixes. Wellington then collapsed from 108 for 3 to be dismissed for 123 in 17 overs. Mitchell Claydon and Yasir Arafat ended with three wickets apiece.
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