Neil Wagner stars in Otago win
Otago beat Auckland by six wickets at Colin Maiden Park to record their first win of the tournament. Otago's win was set up by an inspired bowling performance from last-arm fast bowler Neil Wagner, who picked up six wickets in Auckland's second innings to end with match figures of 10 for 110. Auckland were bowled out for 190, leaving Otago 197 runs to get for victory, which they managed with the loss of four wickets.
Auckland, who chose to bat, made 298 in their first innings with Colin de Grandhomme's 73 being the highlight. They began their second innings after securing a marginal lead of six runs and were soon 20 for 2 with the openers dismissed. Auckland were in danger of collapsing for less than 100 after an incisive spell of fast bowling from Wagner reduced them to 45 for 5. Handy partnerships down the order, however, pushed the score closer to 200 before Auckland were bowled out. Otago had also got off to a disastrous start in their first innings, when they were reduced to 12 for 3. Openers Craig Cumming and Aaron Redmond played solidly to ensure there was no repeat of that collapse in the second innings. They added 55 for the first wicket to set up the Otago chase before Cumming was dismissed. Redmond, who made 55, and Neil Broom, who was unbeaten on 50, anchored the innings to earn them six points for their win. Auckland picked up two points for taking the first-innings lead.
Central Districts strengthened their place at the top of the points table with a hard-fought four-wicket victory over Canterbury at Nelson Park. Central Districts' victory was set up by their commanding batting performance in the first innings, their total of 458 helped them secure a 192-run lead. The batting star for Central Districts was Peter Ingram with 140. Jamie How and No. 10 Michael Mason, who had picked up five wickets in Canterbury's first innings, also contributed half-centuries.
Faced with a huge first-innings deficit, Canterbury started poorly by losing opener Rob Nicol with the score on 24 but a third-wicket half-century partnership between Michael Papps, who made 51, and Reece Young steadied the innings. Tom Latham made 65 at No. 6 and handy scores of 44 not out from Brandon Hiini and 39 from Logan van Beek propelled Canterbury to 346. This left Central Districts with a target of 155. They started poorly - Ingram could not repeat his first-innings heroics and was dismissed for 10 - and at 59 for 4, with left-arm seamer Ryan McCone doing all the damage, Canterbury were in with a chance. Matthew Sinclair ended any hopes with a solid 57 and an unbroken 39-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Kruger van Wyk and Doug Bracewell carried Central Districts to victory without further jitters and secured eight points.
Like in Central Districts' win, Northern Districts' 10-wicket victory over Wellington at Basin Reserve was set up by a solid first-innings batting performance. James Marshall, the Northern Districts captain, chose to field and that decision seemed to be justified when Wellington were reduced to 90 for 6. But Grant Elliot and Harry Boam added 165 for the seventh wicket to rescue their side. Elliot was dismissed for 122 and none of the remaining batsmen could give Boam any support. He was left stranded on 90 as Wellington were bowled out for 274, with Trent Boult picking up a five-for.
Northern Districts got off to a solid start with Brad Wilson and Michael Parlane putting on a century opening stand. Wilson missed a well-deserved century when he was run out for 91. Parlane, James Marshall, Scott Styris and Joseph Yovich all made half-centuries before Northern Districts were bowled out for 469, giving them a 195-runs first-innings lead. The Wellington batsmen failed to capitalise on good starts - four batsmen were dismissed in their thirties - and it was only Boam, with his second half-century, that carried Wellington to 266. Seamer Graeme Aldrige was the best bowler for Northern Districts with figures of 5 for 47.
Northern District openers Wilson and Anton Devcich made easy work of the chase. They knocked off the 72 runs required in fewer than 14 overs and earned Northern Districts eight points.