Lou Vincent powers Auckland to final
Auckland have qualified for the HRV Cup final after they comfortably beat Northern Districts by eight wickets at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Auckland's win was set up by an all-round bowling performance which helped them restrict ND to a below-par 135 for 8 in their allotted overs.
ND won the toss and elected to bat but got off to a terrible start when they lost Brad Wilson in the first over. Daniel Flynn blasted three sixes and a four off Michael Bates but once he was dismissed in the eighth over with the score on 47, ND lost momentum. The middle-order struggled to score freely as Auckland's bowlers kept pegging away, backed up by some sharp fielding. Daryl Tuffey and Andre Adams were the most successful bowlers for Auckland; both picked up a couple of wickets, while conceding less than six runs an over.
A target of 136 was never going to be enough to test the Auckland batsman. Though they lost Colin de Grandhomme in the second over, Lou Vincent and Jimmy Adams added 110 runs for the second wicket to set the platform for Auckland's victory. Vincent top scored with 77 as Auckland won with nine deliveries remaining. This win takes them to the top of the points table and they will now host the final where they will face either Central Districts or ND.
Wellington's hopes of qualifying for the finals were dashed after they lost to Central Districts at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
CD lost Peter Ingram early after they were sent in to bat but a second-wicket partnership of 109 between How and George Worker set the stage for a big total. How blasted six sixes and nine fours in his 96 off just 42 balls, before he was dismissed by Jeetan Patel. Three more wickets for Patel, and a couple of run-outs kept CD's middle order in check, but How's impetus at the start was enough to carry them to 192 for 8 in 20 overs.
Wellington started the chase in positive fashion, racing to 38 in four overs before Luke Wright was dismissed. Ian Blackwell then pegged the Wellington middle order back with three key strikes as the Wellington batsmen failed to build on their starts. They could only reach 163 for 6 in 20 overs to hand CD an easy 29-run win. CD are at second place in the points table, two points ahead of ND with one round of matches remaining.
The game between last placed Otago and fourth placed Canterbury at Molyneux Park in Alexandra was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain.