Graham Napier bludgeons Northern Districts
Graham Napier produced the kind of innings which made him a bankable limited-overs name last summer, clubbing an unbeaten 73 from just 29 balls to get Central Districts home by three wickets over Northern Districts in Palmerston North. Napier walked to the middle in the 42nd over with CD's score at 219 for 7, chasing 301 for victory, and larruped five sixes in an astonishing innings to take them home with 15 deliveries to spare at Fitzherbert Park.
Napier's whirlwind knock turned the match around amazingly. His half-century needed 20 balls - second in New Zealand's domestic one-day half-century after Peter McGlashan did it in 19 balls against Auckland in 2007-08 - and he put on an unbeaten 87 in 38 balls with George Worker (27 not out).
ND had a solid total to defend after teenager Kane Williamson made a career-best unbeaten 107. His second 50-over hundred encompassed 106 balls and featured seven fours and three sixes. Aiding ND were the opener Anton Devcich (54) and McGlashan (53). Williamson then turned his arm over for figures of 3 for 48, which included snapping a 57-run stand for the third wicket between Tim Weston and Peter Ingram. Williamson added Ingram (59) by beating him in flight and winning a leg-before appeal and then got rid of Jacob Oram for 35, but Napier's assault turned the tide.
At Colin Maiden Park, Auckland beat Wellington by 81 runs. Key to this win were the internationals Daryl Tuffey and Ravi Bopara as Auckland, after posting 230, dismissed the opposition for 149.
Bopara continued his impressive run of form with 43 and wrapped up the Wellington tail to finish with figures of 3 for 34 off seven overs. Tuffey claimed 3 for 12 off eight overs, which included getting rid of the openers Matthew Bell and Cameron Merchant. From 61 for 5, Wellington were boosted temporarily by Stewart Rhodes (36) and Luke Woodcock (34) in the middle order, but the house collapsed in the 42nd over. Michael Bates and Roneel Hira chimed in with two wickets each.
Auckland's total was set up by Andrew de Boorder (57), Reece Young (41) and Bopara's 68-ball effort. The match also witnessed the return of Lou Vincent, but he made just six opening the batting for Auckland. Of the Wellington bowlers, Jeetan Patel and Andy McKay were the most successful, taking three wickets each.