Williamson, Watling deliver thrilling win for Northern Districts
Jesse Ryder scored his second hundred in as many Ford Trophy matches but this time it wasn't enough to make up for the poor performances of his team-mates and Otago lost to Northern Districts by four wickets and a ball to spare in a thrilling finish at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Otago lost three wickets - two to Trent Boult - in the first ten overs after they were sent into bat before they were steadied by a 97-run stand between Michael Bracewell and Jesse Ryder. Bracewell fell for 67 off 69 balls and after that Ryder found no significant support. His 115 off 112 deliveries was the only reason Otago got to 277 in 49.4 overs. Offspinner Kane Williamson took 3 for 40, while Boult, Ish Sodhi and Scott Kuggeleijn took two each for Northern Districts.
The hosts lost their captain Daniel Flynn early in the chase but 30s from opener Joe Carter and No. 5 Corey Anderson sandwiched half-centuries from Kane Williamson and BJ Watling. Williamson fell for 75 and Neil Wagner caused a slide when he took three quick wickets for Otago. Northern Districts went from 194 for 3 to 211 for 6. Watling, however, was still batting - he finished on 83 - and Jono Boult made 39 off 28 balls to seal victory off the penultimate ball of the game. Northern Districts needed six off the final over, and Ryan ten Doeschate dropped Boult off Jimmy Neesham, before Watling hit a match-winning six.
A strong collective performance from Auckland's batsmen helped them post a match-winning total against Central Districts at Saxton Oval in Nelson to record their second victory of the Ford Trophy. The key performer was Colin de Grandhomme, whose 78 off 52 balls led Auckland to 307, and fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, who took 4 for 45 to secure a 92-run win.
After losing the toss, Auckland benefitted from their top four making useful contributions, though only Craig Cachopa converted his start into a half-century - a brisk 66 off 62 balls. The score was 198 for 5 in the 38th over when he fell, after which de Grandhomme took charge of the finish, helping Auckland score another 109 runs. Tarun Nethula was Central Districts' most successful bowler, taking 3 for 64 in ten overs.
The Central Districts top order made a start similar to Auckland's but they lacked the sort of innings that Cachopa and de Grandhomme played. They fell away from 122 for 2 and were eventually dismissed for 215 in 39.1 overs. McClenaghan was supported by Michael Bates and Colin Munro who took two wickets each.
The match between Canterbury and Wellington was washed out without the toss happening at Hagley Oval in Christchurch. Both teams took two points each.