Auckland qualify for play-off after comfortable win
Auckland 137 for 4 (Vincent 52*, Grobbelaar 36) beat Central Districts 132 for 7 (Sinclair 44, Adams 2-31) by six wickets
Auckland bypassed Northern Districts to finish third in the HRC Cup points table and qualify for the play-off match against Wellington on January 18. Auckland, who needed to beat Central Districts, won comfortably with Lou Vincent steering the chase with an unbeaten half-century - his first in the competition this season.
Chasing 133 in a match reduced to 18 overs-a-side due to rain, Auckland made a brisk start with Vincent scoring most of the runs. Even the fall of two quick wickets to Bevan Small and Anaru Kitchen leaving the field after retiring hurt due to an abdominal strain didn't slow Auckland's progress. There were two further losses in the 11th and the 13th over but Auckland stayed on course. At this stage, Donovan Grobbelaar joined Vincent and scored a quickfire 36 off 19 balls to complete the chase with an over remaining.
Central Districts chose to bat first and kept losing wickets regularly. Only Mathew Sinclair provided some resistance but his 44 came off 40 balls as Central Districts failed to find the momentum in the innings. Carl Cachopa scored 25 off 15 to push the score to 132 with some big hits in the last three overs. But in the end, it wasn't enough to test Auckland.
Otago 165 for 7 (Redmond 58, Ellis 2-14) beat Canterbury 162 for 6 (Worker 58, Beard 3-26) by three wickets
Table-toppers Otago recorded their ninth straight win, beating Canterbury by three wickets in Dunedin. Led by Aaron Redmond's hurricane knock of 26-ball 58, Otago chased their target of 163 on the last ball of the match. Redmond smashed four fours and five sixes before he was out in the 11th over, by when Otago needed 68 from 55. Derek de Boorder and Ryan ten Doeschate also chipped in with knocks of thirties which made the chase easier. However, it was a last-ball boundary from Mark Craig that sealed the win for Otago.
Canterbury had chosen to bat after the toss and were given a steady opening stand of 67 by Bradley Cachopa (37) and George Worker. But Nick Beard got rid of both of them and finished with figures of 3 for 26 from his four overs. A few more late wickets ensured Canterbury were kept to 162 for 6.