State Shield, 6th Round January 18, 2006

Stewart and Cairns star in Canterbury thriller

Cricinfo staff

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Matthew Sinclair hits out on his way to 42* for Central Districts © Getty Images
Southern neighbours Canterbury and Otago played out a thriller in Dunedin with Canterbury winning by three wickets with four balls remaining. Chasing a reduced target of 284 in 45 overs - Otago posted 293 in 47 - Canterbury squeezed home after brilliant contributions from Shannan Stewart (103 in 113 balls) and Chris Cairns (47 in 27). Nathan Astle (55 in 62) also went past the half century mark. Earlier Chris Gaffaney (80 in 65), Aaron Redmond (72 in 83) and Gareth Hopkins (48 in 30) ensured Otago would post a competitive total. Cairns took 3 for 27 off eight overs in a good allround display. The match was also marked by an horrific knee injury to Greg Todd that held up play for some time as an ambulance was called on to the pitch.

James Marshall's excellent domestic form continued as his 83 led Northern Districts to a 68-run home victory against State Shield leader Wellington. Marshall shared in century partnerships with promising young batsmen BJ Watling (51) and Daniel Flynn (71) as Northern reached 259 for 5. In reply Wellington could manage 191 as their last seven wickets crashed for 88 runs. Neal Parlane was the best of the batsmen with a stoic 64 not out, while Jesse Ryder blazed away for 61. Daniel Vettori, returning as ND captain, took 2 for 30 from 9.3 overs.

It was hard to measure how good Central Districts were in their seven-wicket victory over Auckland because the home side are too poor at the moment to offer any resistance. Once again Auckland's top order capitulated against a tight Central attack. Lance Hamilton took 4 for 36 and Ewen Thompson 3 for 19 as Auckland posted 122 in 37.4 overs. Only Rob Nicol (30) showed the requisite fight. In reply Jamie How, the Central captain and opener, ensured victory with 53 while Mathew Sinclair, the discarded New Zealand batsman, scored 42 not out.