Fleming in top form as Wellington down Auckland
Stephen Fleming, the New Zealand captain, showed a welcome return to form as he guided Wellington to a four-wicket win in their State Shield one-day match against Auckland yesterday. Fleming, who returns to the Black Caps squad for tomorrow's match in the one-day series against Sri Lanka at Wellington, hit 104 off 117 balls as Wellington eased past Auckland's 252 for 8 in 47 overs. Following Fleming's dismissal - caught by Tama Canning off the bowling of former Wellington representative Mayu Pasupati - with Wellington's score on 235 for 6, Luke Woodcock hit 41 off 42 to see his side through to a comfortable victory. He was ably supported by Grant Elliot, the South African allrounder, who contributed an invaluable 11.
For Auckland, Kerry Walmsley and Chris Martin picked up two wickets to send back Jesse Ryder and Chris Nevin, Wellington's openers. Wellington were then left at 90 for 3 as Canning removed Rob Nicol for four, but Fleming was in supreme form, forming partnerships with Matthew Bell and Woodcock to help his side home. Martin was the best of the Auckland bowlers, picking up 2 for 44 runs off his 10 overs, while Pasupati managed 2 for 47. Struggling at 100 for 6 after being asked to bat, Auckland were rescued by Nicol's fighting 88 not-out and some stern resistance from the lower order in Reece Young (40) and Pasupati (42). Iain O'Brien, with 3 for 46, and James Franklin, with 2 for 43, were the best of the Wellington bowlers.
Michael Papps, the former New Zealand opener, steered Canterbury to a six-wicket win over Northern Districts to give the national selectors yet another reminder of his fine form. Papps was unbeaten on 137 when Canterbury cruised past Northern's 272 for 8 in their 50 overs with 10 balls to spare at Owen Delany Park in Taupo. The other batsman not out was Chris Harris (24), Canterbury's captain. Papps scored 92 in the first round of the competition last week but couldn't stop Wellington winning that match. Yesterday, however, he brought up the three-figure mark off just 114 balls and forged a valuable 100-run partnership with Nixon McLean (38) before adding an unbeaten 50 with Harris. Fine innings from Alun Evans (89), BJ Watling (53) and James Marshall (33) had earlier seen Northern set a reasonable target, but Papps was too good on his day.
Ross Taylor's century was the only bright spot at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth as rain forced an early end to Central Districts' match against Otago without a result. The match was abandoned with Otago on 36 for 1 in the seventh over, chasing a reduced target of 203 from 34 overs due to rain. Central scored 219 for 8 in 39 overs with Taylor hitting 107 off just 103 balls.