Otago win high-scoring thriller
Otago 204 for 3 (Rutherford 79, Broom 47) beat Wellington 203 for 4 (Elliott 70, Franklin 68*) by one run
Otago prevailed in a last-ball win over Wellington and took a four-point lead at the top of the points table in Dunedin. Chasing 205, Wellington needed seven from the last over but managed only five from Jacob Duffy's last over which pushed them to third place behind Northern Districts.
Put in to bat first, Otago put on a massive opening stand of 107 with the help of Neil Broom and Hamish Rutherford. The partnership was broken in the 12th over but Rutherford had scored 79 off 44 with 13 boundaries by then (10 fours and three sixes). Aaron Redmond (7) and Broom, 47 off 40, fell soon enough before Ryan ten Doeschate and Michael Bracewell smashed 63 in the last four overs. Ten Doeschate was unbeaten on 45 off 18 and Bracewell on 22 off 9 as a total of 20 fours and eight sixes were scored in the innings.
Wellington were kept on track by Michael Papps and Grant Elliott after they lost two early wickets. They put on 40 in five overs before Papps fell for 44. Elliott and James Franklin kept them in the hunt with a mammoth stand of 137 for the fourth wicket which lasted for 11.1 overs. Elliott smashed 70 off 42 and Franklin raced to 68 off 37 with five fours and four sixes which took them past 200. Duffy dismissed Elliott when Wellington needed three from two balls but Graham Napier failed to score from either of the balls he faced.
Northern Districts 180 for 7 (Styris 48, Martin 2-21) beat Auckland 151 for 9 (Kitchen 42, Boult 2-19) by 29 runs
Northern Districts moved to second place with a crucial 29-run win against Auckland. After scoring 180 once they were asked to bat, Northern Districts' bowlers kept Auckland to 151 as Scott Kuggeleijn, Scott Styris and Jono Boult picked two wickets each.
Northern Districts were led by Brad Wilson and Daniel Harris after losing their first wicket in the third over. Wilson, 36 off 33, struck four fours and Harris raced to 25 off 14 before falling in the seventh over. Daniel Flynn and Daryl Mitchell could not stay for too long and after Wilson's wicket, Styris clobbered 48 off only 18 deliveries to charge them to 180.
Auckland's second-wicket stand between Anaru Kitchen and Gareth Hopkins took them past 50 within eight overs but the middle order failed to capitalise on the start. Boult and Styris reduced the hosts to 101 for 6 from 56 for 1 which virtually ended the chase. Donovan Grobbelaar and James Fuller put on 41 in 17 deliveries but it wasn't enough as they lost three more wickets and eventually fell short by 29.