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December 11, 2011
Auckland went top of the table as they beat their nearest rivals Otago in a gripping, high-scoring encounter in Dunedin. Chasing a daunting 303 they reached their target with two wickets and one ball to spare after a late charge by Colin de Grandhomme who clubbed 43 off 18 balls with four sixes. He came to the crease after the in-form Bradley Cachopa fell for a career-best 114, his first one-day hundred, which followed the 91 he made in the previous round. That left Auckland needing 61 off 40 balls and de Grandhomme soon made a major dent in the requirement. However, when he departed in the penultimate over there was a chance Otago could sneak back in, but Nos 9 and 10, Ronnie Hira and Michael Bates, held their nerve. Whereas Auckland were anchored by a top-order hundred, Otago had relied on three strong half-centuries from their middle order to propel the innings. Craig Cumming (78) and Nathan McCullum (64) added 93 for the fifth wicket then some powerful striking took them over the 300 mark but it wasn't quite enough.
Grant Elliott turned on the power against Canterbury to set up a 33-run success for Wellington in Timaru. Elliott, the Wellington captain, struck 103 off 84 balls including seven sixes to lift his side to 307 for 5. He added 146 in 15 overs for the fourth wicket with Harry Boam who finished unbeaten on 65 from 48 deliveries. Canterbury never gave up in their run chase but lost wickets at regular intervals against an attack featuring five international bowlers. Boam followed his important innings with two wickets, including that of Andrew Ellis who had given his side a chance with a brisk 40. Andy McKay finished off the match with two wickets in the 47th over to complete a haul of 4 for 63.
Mathew Sinclair's unbeaten 63 guided Central Districts to a comfortable six-wicket victory against Northern Districts in Hamilton. He ensured a jittery top order didn't waste the excellent work of the bowling attack in dismissing Northern Districts for 169 inside 44 overs. The chase was slightly unsteady at 66 for 3 but the required rate was never an issue and Sinclair found a solid partner in Kieran Noema-Barnett to get the job done. It was a win set up, however, by the bowlers as they never allowed Northern Districts the chance to build a platform. Jacob Oram removed his former New Zealand team-mate Scott Styris for a third-ball duck after Adam Milne had snaffled the Marshall brothers in his opening spell. Peter Borren, the Netherlands captain, also chipped in with a couple.
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