Auckland cruise to one-day finals
Auckland sailed to the finals of the one-day competition with a crushing eight-wicket win in a one-sided contest preliminary final against Northern Districts at Colin Maiden Park. It needed a superlative performance in the field for ND to defend 105, but Auckland needed just 21 overs to finish the game. Michael Bates and Scott Styris did most of the damage, taking three wickets apiece to bundle out ND within 33 overs. ND were out of the contest when they lost four middle-order wickets for eight runs. Auckland wicketkeeper Reece Young made light work of the chase with an unbeaten 58.
With this win, Auckland will now host the final on February 21. ND, however, have a second shot at qualification for the finals when they meet Central Districts in the third preliminary final on Wednesday.
In the second preliminary final at Village Green, an unbeaten 105 by Mathew Sinclair helped Central Districts chase down 259 against Canterbury. Sinclair's knock overshadowed Michael Papps' 93 for Canterbury. Papps piloted the innings till the 42nd over, hitting 12 fours in his knock. He was supported by Peter Fulton, Shanan Stewart and Johann Myburgh, though all of them fell in their 20s. Seth Rance, the right-arm seamer, leaked 71 runs but managed to pick up four wickets. Sinclair walked in with the score on 68 for 2 and the chase progressed steadily till they lost two further wickets by the 33rd over. But Brendon Diamanti made an aggressive 59 off 47 balls to take the game away from Canterbury while Sinclair too carried on at more than a run a ball. The pair had added 128 in 14.5 overs.