State Twenty20 January 28, 2008

Auckland remain on course for final

Cricinfo staff

Scott Styris on the attack during Auckland's win over Wellington © Getty Images
Auckland kept alive their hopes of defending the State Twenty20 title with a six-wicket win over Wellington at Eden Park., but they left it late, squeezing home with only two balls to spare when Gareth Hopkins slashed a six over extra cover.

Auckland's experienced attack was unable to peg back Wellington who reached 182 for 7, an innings built on Jesse Ryder's 27-ball 66 and then given a late boost by Graham Napier's 48 from 19 balls.

Wellington had to restrict Auckland to under 105 to have any chance of reaching the final themselves, but on a batsman-friendly pitch that was never likely. Scott Styris and Lou Vincent added 96 for the third wicket off 9.2 overs, but Styris' dismissal checked what was until then a routine chase. Auckland needed 20 from two overs and 11 off the last, bowled by Napier, but Hopkins clobbered a four and then the match-winning six.

At the weekend, Northern Districts slipped to second place after losing by 19 runs to Canterbury in Christchurch, Johann Myburgh's 68 - the only fifty of the match - the difference between the sides in a low-scoring contest.

Central Districts took over at the top of the table with an easy six-wicket defeat of bottom side Otago in New Plymouth, coasting to the target of 173 with four overs in hand.

Team Mat Won Lost Tied N/R Pts Net RR For Against
Central Dist 4 3 1 0 0 12 +2.072 768/76.0 640/79.4
Northern Dis 5 3 2 0 0 12 +0.306 793/94.2 810/100.0
Canterbury 5 2 2 1 0 12 -0.673 658/100.0 706/97.2
Wellington 5 2 3 0 0 8 -0.552 735/94.2 794/95.1
Auckland 4 2 1 1 0 8 -0.668 604/79.4 660/80.0
Otago 5 1 4 0 0 4 -0.064 739/100.0 687/92.1

Auckland now need to beat Central Districts in the last match on Wednesday, and do so convincingly enough to lift their net run-rate above that of Northern Districts. If they manage that then they will again meet Central Districts in the final next Sunday.