Twin centurion Redmond scripts Otago win
Otago 383 (Redmond 133, Rutherford 91, Johnston 5-105) and 267 for 2 (Redmond 123, Bracewell 88*) beat Canterbury 297 (Astle 95, Wagner 4-67) and 352 (Brownlie 113, Astle 78, Craig 5-120) by eight wickets
Aaron Redmond hit centuries in both innings to propel Otago to an eight-wicket win in a high-scoring season opener, against Canterbury at Rangiora. Chasing 267, Otago coasted in 68.5 overs thanks to Redmond's 123 and Michael Bracewell's unbeaten 88.
Canterbury chose to bat first and were struggling at 143 for 7 before they were rescued by Todd Astle, who made a quickfire 95 off 106 balls with 13 fours and a six. He added 80 for the ninth wicket with Willie Lonsdale. All six bowlers picked up wickets, with Neil Wagner the most effective with 4 for 67. Otago responded to Canterbury's 297 with an opening stand of 186 between Redmond and Hamish Rutherford. Rutherford fell nine short of his century when he was bowled by Tim Johnston. Johnston, the offspinner, took five wickets as Otago lost their way after that solid start, losing their next nine wickets for just 130 runs. The last two wickets added 70 to push the score to 383 and give Otago a lead of 86.
Canterbury were wobbling at 3 for 2 and the rescue act came from the New Zealand middle order batsman Dean Brownlie, who scored 113 and put on stands of 85 and 77 with the middle order. When Brownlie departed at 224 for 8, Canterbury were only leading by 138. Astle came good with the bat for the second time, scoring 78 and adding 108 with Ben McCord to stretch the score to 352.
Chasing 267, Otago were carried by a second-wicket stand of 164 between Redmond and Rutherford. When Redmond departed, Otago were just 49 short of the target.