All-round Auckland crush Wellington
Auckland 117 for 5 (Vincent 45, Hodge 22) beat Wellington 116 (Borgas 50, Kuggeleijn 24, McClenaghan 3018, Hodge 3-16) by five wickets
Defending champions Auckland opened their campaign with a comfortable five-wicket win against Wellington at the Westpac Stadium. Seamer Mitchell McClenaghan and star import Brad Hodge, playing his only game, took three wickets each to help dismiss Wellington for 116, and opener Lou Vincent guided the chase with 45 as Auckland reached the target with 17 deliveries to spare.
After being put in to bat, Wellington were in trouble early, as opener Michael Pollard was dismissed by left-arm fast bowler Michael Bates in the second over. Worse was to follow as the in-form Jesse Ryder fell in the third over. This was Ryder's first failure since returning to cricket earlier this season: in the Plunket Shield, he scored twin centuries against Central Districts and hit a dominant unbeaten 90 in the Twenty20 against Canterbury.
McClenaghan, and spinners Bruce Martin and Hodge, then had Wellington in further trouble at 60 for 7 by the 12th over. South Australia's middle-order batsman Cameron Borgas scored a half-century to lead a recovery, but Wellington could only limp to 116.
Although Australian Shaun Tait clocked 144kph, Wellington's bowling unit couldn't stop Auckland from winning. Vincent, who last played for New Zealand in December 2007, top scored for Auckland, putting on 65 with Hodge for the first wicket. There was a brief stutter in the middle of the innings, when they lost three wickets quickly, but middle-order batsmen Colin de Grandhomme and Craig Cachopa guided them home.