Otago win inside three days
Otago 374 (Bracewell 129, Ryder 120, Bennett 4-103, Astle 4-102) and 67 for 1 beat Canterbury 243 (Johnston 71, Brownlie 52, Wagner 4-73) and 192 (Wagner 5-70) by nine wickets
Hundreds from Michael Bracewell and Jesse Ryder, and a nine-wicket haul from Neil Wagner, powered Otago to their first victory of this season's Plunket Shield. They sent Canterbury packing inside three days in Rangiora.
Wagner and his new-ball partner Blair Soper set the tone after Otago won the toss, by regularly jolting the Canterbury top order. Dean Brownlie scored 52 at No. 3 but he was the only batsman among the top nine to pass 20. Canterbury were foundering at 129 for 8 when they received an unexpected boost from their tail. Tim Johnston made a career-best 71 at No. 10, and so did the No. 11 Hamish Bennett, who contributed 30. They added 89 for the final wicket before Wagner dismissed Johnston to pick up his fourth wicket and end Canterbury's innings on 243 in 70.1 overs on the first day.
Otago's openers led their team to 41 for 0 by the end of the first day, but Ryan Duffy was dismissed early on the second morning, ending the partnership on 51. The rest of the top order, however, produced strong performances. Aaron Redmond scored 56, and then Bracewell and Ryder all but shut Canterbury out of the game. Ryder ransacked 120 off 113 deliveries, while Bracewell was the anchor of their 188-run stand and went on to make 129 off 187 balls. Otago had already sped into the lead and were 306 for 2 when Ryder was dismissed. The rest of the innings fell away, though, and only one of the last seven batsmen made it into double figures. Otago lost eight wickets for 68 runs, with Bennett and Todd Astle taking four each for Canterbury, but had a lead of 131.
The wicket glut on the second day had not ended, though. Soper and Wagner wrecked the Canterbury top order again, taking two wickets each on the second evening, and when Mark Craig dismissed Bradley Cachopa, they were 83 for 5 shortly before stumps.
Wagner went on to complete his five-for on the third morning, and though there was resistance from the middle and lower order, it was not substantial. Canterbury were shot out for 192 in 52 overs, leaving Otago with a target of 62. They did it in 8.5 overs, for the loss of only one wicket.