Canterbury thrash Wellington to top table
Northern Districts and Otago shared two points apiece after their game at the Cobham Oval (New) in Whangarei ended in a thrilling tie. Otago chose to bat and started solidly with openers Aaron Redmond and Michael Bracewell putting on 53 before Bracewell was dismissed in the 12th over.
Neil Broom at No. 3 capitalised on the opening platform as he anchored Otago's innings with a brisk hundred. He reached his 100 off 106 balls and upped the ante with some big shots to make 23 off the next 13 balls he faced before he was caught behind off Brent Arnel. There were handy contributions from Craig Cumming (31) and Darren Stevens (39) down the order as Otago reached 274 for 5.
Northern Districts started their chase in positive fashion with an opening stand of 85 between BJ Watling and Brad Wilson. Watling was dismissed by Ian Butler in the 21st over and Nick Beard accounted for Wilson for 55 soon after. That brought Kane Williamson and James Marshall together, who put on 114 for the third wicket to set Northern Districts on course for what looked like an easy victory. However, Butler struck again to pick up the crucial wicket of Marshall for 64. He had Peter McGlashan caught by Broom in his next over and Northern Districts had stumbled from 211 for 2 to 221 for 4. Nick Beard struck with his left-arm spin to dismiss Anton Devcich and Joseph Yovich off successive deliveries as Northern Districts slumped to 233 for 6 at the end of 46 overs, still needing 41 runs of 24 balls. Williamson, who was unbeaten at the other end, made a last-ditch effort as he and No. 9 Bradley Scott blasted 37 off 21 balls to take Northern Districts to the cusp of a victory. Northern Districts needed three off the final ball but Scott managed only two and the game ended in a tie, with Williamson not out on 87.
It was a one-sided affair at the Basin Reserve, where Canterbury thrashed Wellington by 125 runs to jump from third place to the top of the points table. Canterbury's total of 265 for 6 was powered by two half-centuries from opener Rob Nicol and No. 3 Peter Fulton. Nicol made 67, while Fulton made 93 off 122 balls after disappointing returns in his last two games.
That score proved to be too much for Wellington who have just won one game so far in this competition. Canterbury had them on the mat early on with three wickets within the first five overs. Wellington never recovered from that start and though Stewart Rhodes (35), Harry Boam (29) and Marc Calkin (27) briefly resisted, that just delayed the inevitable as Wellington were bowled out for 140 in 35.1 overs. Mitchell Claydon and Martin Kain picked up three wickets each.
Auckland and Central Districts also shared two points apiece after their game at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth was rained out with only 9.1 overs of play possible. Auckland, who were sent in to bat, lost Tim McIntosh early. Lou Vincent (29) and Anaru Kitchen (7) had taken Auckland's score to 45 for 1 before rain came down at the start of the ninth over after which no further play was possible.