Perfect weekend for Ellis and Canterbury
Andrew Ellis starred for the second day in a row as Canterbury won their second match in two days to complete a perfect weekend in Hamilton. Ellis took five to limit Wellington to 110, a total which never looked out of reach during the chase. The result leaves Canterbury on top of the table with three wins in three matches, while Wellington are bottom of the table after two defeats in two.
Wellington began poorly, losing both their openers within the first three overs, and struggled to put together partnerships. Still at 81 for 4 after 14 overs, they had the wickets in hand to go big in the final overs of the innings. Instead, Ellis struck in each of his next three overs to wipe out the lower-middle order and to leave Canterbury facing a target of 111.
Canterbury too made a poor start, losing Ronnie Hira in the first over, but faced with such a small target, they were never really in trouble. Their captain Peter Fulton top scored with an unbeaten 45 while their Australian import Aiden Blizzard chipped in with 29 as they closed out the game with five wickets to spare.
Auckland showed off their batting might by running up the highest total of the season and crushing Otago by 106 runs. Auckland now have the two highest scores of the season and two wins in their two matches so far. It extended Otago's wretched start to the campaign, leaving them with three defeats in three games and a disastrous net run-rate.
Martin Guptill made his second consecutive half-century as he top scored with an unbeaten 84 off 65 deliveries. He was partnered by Rob Nicol, who smashed six sixes in a 41-ball 74 as the pair added 137 for the second wicket. Former Australia fast bowler Dirk Nannes had a day to forget, being caned for 59 off his four overs.
For Otago to pull off the big chase, they needed a big innings from Jesse Ryder, but he couldn't deliver, falling for 5 in the second over. By the halfway stage the pursuit was flagging, and Otago's chances evaporated in the 11th over when they lost two wickets in three deliveries. They proceeded to lose a wicket in each of the next five overs to keel over for 83.