Auckland take tense first win
Auckland kept their cool to secure their first Twenty20 victory of the season, a two-run win over Wellington at the Basin Reserve. Chasing 170, Wellington slid to 7 for 3 after the second over, but James Franklin's 48-ball 72, studded with five sixes, revived them. With Chris Nevin smashing a 24-ball 41, Wellington were actually in control going into the final three overs, needing 17 runs with both Nevin and Franklin at the crease. However, Daryl Tuffey removed Nevin and Michael Bates struck twice in two deliveries of the penultimate over to dent Wellington. The home side could have still won, needing six off the final five balls, but the last wicket pair couldn't pull it off. Earlier, after being sent in, Auckland relied on half-centuries from opener Lou Vincent and Anaru Kitchen to post a tall total.
It was a far easier outing for table-topping Central Districts, who coasted to a 19-run victory over Northern Districts at Pukekura Park. Ross Taylor blasted four fours and four sixes in his 53 to power CD to 184, with Daniel Vettori being carted for 53 runs in his four overs. Even though big-hitting allrounders Jacob Oram and Graham Napier barely contributed with the bat, they made amends while bowling; Napier got the big wicket of Vettori early and followed it up by dismissing Daniel Flynn, while Oram prised out Brian Watling to leave ND at 23 for 3. James Marshall's half-century started a recovery but George Worker got two-in-two in his only over, the 12th, to dash ND's hopes.
It was the team batting first that won in Christchurch as well, where defending champions Otago crushed Canterbury by 43 runs. After choosing to bat, Otago's top four each made at least 20, with Neil Broom's 37-ball 58 being the top score. There was drama in the final over of Otago's batting, when Ryan Burson took three wickets in four balls and gave away only two runs to leave Canterbury needing 160 to win. Canterbury's chances were nearly extinguished by the end of the seventh over following a middle-order collapse in which three wickets went down in seven deliveries. From 45 for 5, it was mostly a question of reducing the margin of defeat.