Central Districts in final, Otago keep campaign alive
Table leaders Central Districts advanced to the final of the Ford Trophy after their match against Auckland at Pukekura Park was rained out. Rain intervened after Central Districts reached 16 without loss in response to 230. Auckland were carried to that score thanks to an aggressive rearguard effort by Colin Munro and Colin de Grandhomme, who scored 60s and added 92 in just under 10 overs. They came together at 109 for 5 in the 31st over and went on the attack. Munro made 64 off 60 balls while de Grandhomme smashed seven sixes in his 35-ball 66. Marty Kain's 4 for 46 helped Central Districts bowl out Auckland before they could bat out their 50 overs.
Auckland, at second place in the points table, will have another shot at qualifying for the final when they face Otago in the third preliminary final on Wednesday.
The battle between the third and fourth-placed teams in the tournament went Otago's way in a gripping low-scorer at Dunedin's University Oval. The hosts, Otago, were bowled out for 172 in just than 40 overs, but Canterbury, despite their strong start, collapsed to lose by 12 runs. Sam Wells top-scored for Otago with 41 at No.6 to lift them to a match-winning score. Canterbury were coasting at 93 for 1 in just under 25 overs, led by Peter Fulton's half-century, but the wicket of Shanan Stewart triggered a collapse. Jimmy Neesham, the right-arm seamer, dismissed Fulton soon after and took three more wickets to take the game away from Canterbury. Otago claimed the last seven wickets for only 30 runs and the victory set up their virtual semi-final clash with Auckland.