Nicol blitz overshadows Mahmood in Canterbury win
Canterbury 205 for 3 (Nicol 101*, Worker 44) beat Auckland 202 for 4 (Mahmood 100*, Hopkins 42) by seven wickets
Powered by a blistering ton from Rob Nicol, Canterbury chased down a target of 203 rather comfortably against Auckland at the Colin Maiden Park, in what was essentially a dress rehearsal for the HRV Cup final on Saturday. Auckland's Azhar Mahmood, too, scored a century, but it went in vain as Canterbury knocked off what was the highest total in this season's HRV Cup with three balls and seven wickets to spare.
Canterbury's decision to bowl looked to have backfired when Mahmood, opening Auckland's innings, teed off. He hit three sixes and 10 fours to bring up a hundred in 61 balls - the third ton of the season overall. He was particularly supported by his captain, Gareth Hopkins, who made 42 off 28 as Auckland finished on 202 for 4.
The Canterbury openers, Nicol and George Worker got the chase off to a fine start, putting on 85 in under eight overs. Worker fell for a rapid 44, but Nicol was unstoppable: he hit nine sixes during the course of the innings to finish on 101 not out of just 57 balls and nullify Mahmood's effort. His unbeaten 101 is the joint second-highest individual score in this edition of the HRV Cup. Canterbury would have strolled home much sooner had it not been for left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira - he went for a very respectable 23 runs in 3.3 overs, and picked up two wickets.