Jacob Oram and Owais Shah star in wins
Jacob Oram starred with the ball to seal a nerve-wracking one-run victory for Central Districts over Otago. Oram scythed through the Otago middle order in a sensational spell of medium-pace bowling that yielded 5 for 14 in four overs. It was the best ever Twenty20 return for a New Zealander, bettering Iain O'Brien's 5 for 23 for Leicestershire last year. Central Districts needed all of Oram's class and experience to muster the victory after their batsmen put up a dismal 116. The score was a major disappointment after Ross Taylor hit 40 off 19 balls to set up the innings. The rest of the line-up failed in the face of incisive bowling from Ian Butler and Yasir Arafat who picked three wickets apiece. Otago's response was stunted by the regular loss of wickets, Oram being the chief destroyer, with no batsman going past Craig Cumming's 22. In the end, Butler and Warren McSkimming were left to score 12 runs off the last over and fell short by the smallest possible margin.
Owais Shah's blitzkrieg 65 off 29 balls converted what appeared to be a tight chase into a walk in the park as Wellington romped home by seven wickets with 14 balls to spare against Canterbury at Basin Reserve. Wellington's decision to field first reaped immediate dividends when James Franklin got rid of the in-form Rob Nicol and Peter Fulton early. Michael Papps and Johann Myburgh steadied the ship before Shanan Stewart launched a spectacular attack on the hosts, striking five sixes in his 33-ball 57. Andy McKay went for 38 runs, but snared four scalps including Stewart's to peg the visitors back in the end overs. Wellington's top three started the chase in quick fashion, adding 70 runs in 8.2 overs before Shah took over. In a brutal spectacle of power hitting, he scored 65 of the 90 runs that were added in the 9.2 overs when he was at the crease. He hit seven sixes and two fours in his unbeaten innings that spared no bowler except Nicol, whose wicketless four overs went for only 18 runs.