De Boorder helps Otago stretch lead with win over Wellington
Canterbury 184 for 8 (Latham 52, Arnel 4-22) beat Northern Districts 176 for 8 (Wilson 36, Hira 3-16) by eight runs
Canterbury put up just about enough runs on the board to beat Northern Districts by eight runs in a high-scoring match in Hamilton. This was their third win in the competition while Northern Districts conceded their fourth loss in nine games.
The win has put Canterbury in with a mathematical chance to make it to the finals if they win both their remaining matches. Northern Districts, who came into the match placed third in the table, are now left in a must-win situation in their last league match against Wellington.
Deciding to bat first, Canterbury were off to a rapid start but lost Rob Nicol in the third over. His more aggressive opening partner George Worker fell for 27 an over later, but Bradley Cachopa and Andrew Ellis added 39 runs for the third wicket off just 28 balls. The rapid start gave Tom Latham and Brendon Diamanti the foundation to launch from, and they blasted the next 70 off just 38 balls. Latham struck 52 off 29 balls which included three sixes off consecutive balls off an Anurag Verma over, giving Canterbury a competitive 184 in 20 overs.
Brent Arnell took four wickets for 22 runs but none of the other Northern District bowlers could make an impression on Canterbury. The story continued with the batsmen too.
Canterbury left-arm spinner Ronnie Hira then took three key wickets to scuttle Northern District's fall, taking 3 for 16 in four overs. Brad Wilson's 36 and 25 each from James Foster and Jono Bolt were not enough contributions in a big chase.
Otago 170 for 6 (de Boorder 67, Rutherford 32) beat Wellington 158 for 6 (Tamim 41, Neesham 2-26) by 12 runs
Otago maintained their position at the top of the HRC Cup table with their seventh straight win as they sidelined second-placed Wellington by 12 runs at the Basin Reserve.
Otago made a quick start, adding 36 for the opening wicket in 4.2 overs, after they won the toss and elected to bat first. The fall of the wicket didn't slow the team down as skipper Derek de Boorder joined Hamish Rutherford to keep the scoring-rate up. Even after the fall of Rutherford, Otago kept coming up with regular partnerships that didn't let the scoring slow down. De Boorder was the last wicket to fall in the innings, off the penultimate ball, after he had scored 67 off 44 balls to set up a strong total.
Wellington's chances of getting a good start were struck a blow when seamer James Fuller got the big wicket of Jesse Ryder. There were useful contributions from Tamim Iqbal and CA Borgas, but none of them were allowed to break free. In the end, Grant Elliot made a late effort with an 18-ball 36 but Wellington fell short by 12 runs.
Wellington need to win their last match against Northern Districts to qualify for the finals, but a loss would leave them vulnerable to Auckland's and Canterbury's results.