Ford Trophy 2014-15 January 8, 2015

Central Districts top table with Smith fifty

ESPNcricinfo staff

A second consecutive fifty for Ben Smith took Central Districts to the top of the Ford Trophy points table with a five-wicket win over Auckland in Palmerston North.

Though the target was only 226, some complications arose when Matthew Quinn removed the openers by the third over. Smith steadied the wobble and led two fifty partnerships in the middle order to finish with an 81-ball 74, one short of his highest List A score made in the last match. He was the fourth man out, but by then Central Districts needed only 83 more to win with 136 balls remaining. A straightforward task that was completed in the 46th over.

Auckland's troubles had begun early after captain Rob Nicol and the rest of the top order found the going tough after choosing to bat. They were 58 for 4 in the 21st over . A half-century from Colin Munro and a 39-ball 45 from Colin de Grandhomme provided stability but neither could push on and though the tail only managed to play out the 50 overs, their total was a bit underwhelming.