Bowlers set up title win for Auckland
Auckland 143 for 7 (Hopkins 34*, Kitchen 37, McCone 3-31) beat Canterbury 139 (Latham 42, Bates 3-30) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Auckland won their second one-day title in three seasons, taking the 50-over Ford Trophy after beating Canterbury in a low-scoring final at Eden Park Outer Oval. Canterbury were bowled out for 139 in under 35 overs and though Auckland chased it down in 25.1 overs, they made heavy weather of the target, losing seven wickets in the process.
A combined bowling effort and impressive fielding sunk Canterbury. The Auckland bowlers, after winning the toss, reduced the visitors to 60 for 5. Canterbury's Rob Nicol and Peter Fulton had added 56 for the second wicket before Nicol was run-out backing up too far at the non-striker's end. Fulton fell the following over when he tried to go big over the off side and only managed a leading edge down to third man. Michael Bates was on a hat-trick when he had Dean Brownlie caught behind and Auckland had removed three international batsmen in the space of seven balls.
Tom Latham resisted with 42 but kept running short of partners. After hooking Bates over fine leg for a six, Latham tried to clear mid-off but a brilliant bit of fielding ended his knock. Colin de Grandhomme ran backwards and managed to pluck the catch one-handed. Auckland wrapped up the innings the following over with Bates leading the way with 3 for 30.
Auckland progressed comfortably, reaching 57 for 1 at the end of 10 overs, when lunch was taken. Anaru Kitchen was aggressive from the outset, but fell in the first over after the break, trying to slap Hamish Bennett, only managing an edge to the keeper. Gareth Hopkins and Craig Cachopa had added 34 before Andrew Ellis broke the stand, the keeper Latham in the action again diving in front of first slip to take a one-handed catch.
Ryan McCone gave Canterbury hope with a three-wicket burst that reduced Auckland to a nervy 131 for 7. De Grandhomme was caught at the boundary, Donovan Grobbelaar caught at slip and Kyle Mills bowled going for the heave as Auckland lost three wickets for 11 runs. Bruce Martin, who never got a chance to bowl, was the unlikely hero for Auckland as he smashed two consecutive fours to calm the nerves. Hopkins, who remained unbeaten, finished things off with a boundary to cover, closing the curtain on the domestic season.