Auckland move to top of the table
Auckland moved to the top of the table with a comfortable win against Central Districts at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland. The home side chose to bat and Jeet Raval and Colin Munro starred with half-centuries while Gareth Hopkins made 43. Allrounder Jacob Oram, who was picked for the World Cup and the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan after his recovery from injury, provided the late flourish with 36 off 19 balls to propel Auckland to 279 for 9.
Central Districts started steadily with Peter Ingram and George Worker putting on 65 runs for the first wicket. Andre Adams picked up the first of his three wickets when he dismissed Ingram for 24 in the 15th over. Jamie How was dismissed in the next over and though Worker resisted with a half-century, his dismissal in the 24th over with the score on 99 proved to be the turning point. Adams and Roneel Hira never allowed the remaining batsmen to get away and combined to take six wickets between them as Central Districts were bowled out for 239 in the last over. This win took Auckland to the top of the points table after the fourth round of games.
An all-round performance from Canterbury powered them to a comfortable 63-run victory over Wellington at Village Green in Christchurch.
Opener Rob Nicol's 84 anchored Canterbury to a competitive total of 237 for 8. Nicol and Michael Papps started solidly, putting on a century opening stand, after captain Peter Fulton elected to bat. Papps was caught and bowled by Luke Woodcock two runs short of his half-century. Canterbury then suffered a slight stutter as Woodcock dismissed Fulton and Dean Brownlie in quick succession to leave them at 126 for 3. Nicol was bowled by Mark Gillespie with the score on 160, but Shannan Stewart and Andrew Ellis added 51 for the fifth wicket to take the score past 200. Both Stewart (54) and Ellis (30) stepped up the scoring as Canterbury reached 237 for 8 off their 50 overs.
Wellington needed a good start if they were to make a fist of the chase, but started poorly, losing Stewart Rhodes and Neal Parlane with just 13 runs on the board. Marc Calkin and Grant Elliott tried to get the chase back on track with a 76-run third-wicket partnership but once they were dismissed, the chase was derailed. None of the remaining Wellington batsmen could get past 25 and they were all out for 174 in under 44 overs with No. 11 Josh Brodie retiring hurt.
Otago and Northern Districts shared two points apiece after their game at Queen's Park in Invercargill was rained out with just 45 overs of play possible.
Scott Styris' unbeaten hundred anchored Northern Districts to 201 for 9, after they chose to bat. They had been struggling at 30 for 3 in the eighth over after Otago's opening bowlers, James McMillan and Craig Smith, struck early. Styris, who came in at No. 4, however, took the attack to the Otago bowlers and reached his half-century off 65 balls. Styris and Peter McGlashan added 70 runs for the sixth wicket to steady the innings and take Northern Districts close to 150. Styris raced to his hundred off 101 balls - his last 50 runs coming off just 36 - hitting eight fours and five sixes in his well-paced effort. He was unbeaten on 118 when it began to rain and no further play was possible.