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March 29, 2012
Central Districts inflicted a heavy loss on Northern Districts, winning their last match by 252 runs in Nelson Park, Napier. However, Northern Districts were the team that came out celebrating as they won their second Plunket Shield title in three years. Needing five points to win the trophy before the start of the match, Northern Districts dismissed Central Districts for 342 in 95.4 overs to collect all four bowling points. Carl Cachopa and Kieran Noema-Barnett both scored centuries but the lower order crumbled to Graeme Aldridge (4 for 47). Northern Districts failed to take any point from their batting, as they were all out for 244, six runs short of what would have sealed the title. That they even came close was mainly due to Peter McGlashan's 72 and his partnerships with the lower order. However, with Auckland failing to get enough bowling points in their match against Canterbury, Northern Districts started celebrating their title win at lunch on the third day. Central Districts, however, kept their focus on the game and declared their second innings at 323 for four, with four batsmen scoring half-centuries. They then bundled Northern Districts for 169 in 57.2 overs to score 18 points from the game and finish second on the points table. Legbreak bowler, Tarun Nethula picked up five wickets for 57.
Auckland, who were in the chase for the title before the start of the match, could only manage a draw with Canterbury at Colin Maiden Park. Led by Colin de Grandhomme's 125 and three half-centuries from the middle order, Auckland had given themselves hope by getting full batting bonus points as they crossed 400 on the second morning. But they could only manage one bowling bonus point as Canterbury declared at 363 on the third day. Peter Fulton scored a 241-ball 87 to frustrate Auckland for more than five hours. With the title gone, Auckland declared at 271 after Tim McIntosh and Anaru Kitchen scored hundreds. Needing an improbable 361 to win in under two sessions, Canterbury lost four wickets while scoring 189 as the game ended in a draw.
A double-century by opener Hamish Rutherford and a seven-wicket first-innings haul by Neil Wagner helped Otago beat Wellington by an innings and 64 runs in Dunedin. Wagner started Wellington's slide by taking three wickets early in the first session, as Wellington were reduced to 16 for 3. He mopped up the tail to take his second seven-wicket haul this season and finished as the top wicket-taker in the competition. Otago's batsmen then responded with a 131-run opening partnership, which wiped out the deficit. Opener Rutherford went on to score 239, his highest first-class score, as Otago finished with a lead of 407. Wellington performed better in their second innings to score 343, but still lost the game massively on the fourth day as Nathan McCullum picked up 4 for 85.
Edited by Devashish Fuloria
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