Wins for Canterbury and Central Districts
In a high-scoring contest at the Aorangi Oval in Timaru, Canterbury beat Otago by six runs on the back of a collective batting display and a four-wicket haul from an expensive, yet effective, Matt Henry. After opting to bat, opener Rob Nicol smacked two fours and four sixes in his quickfire 44 that gave his team a blistering start. Captain Peter Fulton chipped in with 31 but the real surge came down the order. Dean Brownlie thrashed four sixes in his 15-ball 38 while Andrew Ellis blazed 33 in just 12 balls to propel Canterbury to 198.
Otago responded positively and scored at a brisk pace but lost wickets at crucial times. Their openers got starts but were dismissed by Henry, though the main threat was Neil Broom, who made 77 in 45 balls. At 174 for 4 in 17.1 overs, Otago still had a fair chance but Broom fell the next ball, caught by Brendan Diamanti off Henry, and the innings lost its way. The batsmen who followed could only manage 18 more runs.
Central Districts won their first game of the HRV cup, beating Wellington by 25 runs at the Basin Reserve. Jamie How and Ross Taylor were the top-scorers for CD, scoring 32 and 37 respectively, and there were a series of other lower, yet significant, contributions that took their team to a competitive 155. Muttiah Muralitharan was among the wickets, taking 3 for 18 in four overs and Luke Woodcock too grabbed three. A combined bowling effort proved too tough to handle for Wellington, who were bowled out for 130. Jacob Oram struck thrice and the opening seamers Michael Mason and Doug Bracewell, too, grabbed a wicket each. Wellington were reduced to 73 for 5 at one stage and even though they recovered, thanks to Harry Boam's 47, they could not keep up with the required-rate.