Northern Districts seal thrilling win
Northern Districts 148 (Astle 4 for 19, McMillan 2-5) beat Canterbury 142 (Aldridge 5-34) by 6 runs
Graeme Aldridge's stunning spell caused Canterbury to crumble under pressure as Northern Districts wrapped up a thrilling six-run victory at Aorangi Oval in Timaru. Canterbury were cruising along at 86 without loss, chasing 149, but Nathan Astle's dismissal for 45 triggered off an amazing collapse. Aldridge, the fifth ND bowler to be used, snapped up Astle, Michael Papps, Peter Fulton, Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns for a career-best haul of 5 for 34 and Canterbury never recovered from the blow. Even though Stephen Cunis and Brendon McCullum made a brave attempt at clinching it at the death, helped by two dropped catches, ND had done enough to scrape home.
It took a piece of individual brilliance from Scott Styris to seal the win. Fielding in the slips, he picked up a ball dropped by Peter McGlashan, the wicketkeeper, and noted that Chris Martin had been tempted to run on the error. Styris picked up the ball and threw a direct hit into the stumps at the bowler's end as Martin attempted to regain his ground. He couldn't, and ND had celebrated their dramatic win.
Earlier in the day ND struggled with the bat after electing to bat, a reasonable decision given the match was being played on the same pitch for Saturday's game against Wellington. ND struggled to get any impetus and only Daniel Vettori, the captain, and Llorne Howell added 41 with Vettori smashing 28 off 26.
Howell found himself having to play the anchor role while batting for 104 minutes to score 30. Hamish Marshall attempted to lift the rate but couldn't get beyond 23 and the ND batsmen struggled against the medium pace of Nathan Astle. Astle, who reckoning that he would not bowl again in his career before rolling his arm over in the last match, took 4 for 19 off his 10 overs. His brother-in-law, and for the moment temporarily discarded international team-mate, Craig McMillan also had a good game with the ball and ended with 2 for 5.
Apart from a late-order assault launched by Peter McGlashan who scored 25, Northern Districts had to make do with what appeared to be a disappointing 148. Aldridge ensured that it was just enough.
Otago 299 for 9 (Cumming 57, Hopkins 55, Schwass 3-66) beat Central Districts 204 (How 55, Wilson 3-39, McSkimming 2-20) by 95 runs
Otago's batsmen continued on their record-breaking form and posted 299 for 9 against Central Districts at Pukekura Park. Central Districts were never in the hunt, with the ever-escalating asking-rate, and ultimately fell short by 95 runs.
Otago's total surpassed the 295 they scored on New Year's Day, but this was more of an allround display. Craig Cumming top-scored with 57 off 62 balls and enjoyed another good opening stand, of 61, with Chris Gaffaney. Once Gaffaney was out, Aaron Redmond continued the momentum with 23 off 30. The support kept coming with Mohammad Wasim scored 23 and Gareth Hopkins 55 before Nathan McCullum finished the innings with a flourish - his 34 off 24 contained two sixes and three fours. The heavy artillery kept firing as Brad Scott went even better to score 29 off 16 with two sixes and two fours.
CD's bowlers took a pounding. Andrew Schwass went into the last over having three wickets at a reasonable return, but he ended with 3 for 66 at the end of the innings. The usually economical Michael Mason took 1 for 60 off 10.
CD learnt at the break they had been docked an over due to their own slow over-rate, and that made their task all the harder. With Craig Spearman dismissed when the total was 12, CD had lost a vital component in their armoury for a big chase. There was depth in the line-up, but the inability to up the ante saw the run-rate mount beyond their reach. Jamie How made 55 but CD could not find the impetus needed for the full scale assault.
Wellington 187 for 7 (Woodcock 41, Pasupati 38*, Canning 4-21) beat Auckland 183 (Nicol 52, Pasupati 4 for 37, Franklin 3-35) by 3 wickets
Luke Woodcock and Mayu Pasupati added 37 vital runs towards the end of the game to help Wellington ease to a three-wicket win at Basin Reserve. Chasing 188 for victory, Wellington were in trouble at 116 for 6 after Tama Canning's burst of 3 for 6. But Woodcock and Pasupati fashioned a suitable recovery, utilising the overs that were still in hand to carry Wellington home. Woodcock scored 41 and Pasupati, hitting out at the end, was 42 not out.
Earlier, Auckland's poor run of batting form continued. Matt Horne and Richard Jones, the openers, got away to a start with 23 each, but it took a 91-ball innings of 52 from Rob Nicol to hold things together. The number of allrounders in the middle order never really fired, especially against the offspin of Jayesh Patel, who conceded only 27 in his 10 overs. Though he didn't take any wickets, he kept the batsmen on a leash while Pasupati marked his return to the side with a bag of 4 for 37, close to his career-best of 4 for 33. James Franklin backed up with 3 for 35 as Auckland were all out for 183.