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January 26, 2014
An all-round display from Sam Wells helped Otago to a seven-wicket win against Canterbury in Dunedin. Wells picked up five wickets in Canterbury's second innings, before hitting an unbeaten ton to inspire a fine batting display from Otago's top order and help them successfully chase down 379. The victory was all the more remarkable considering that Otago had been under the cosh for much of the game having conceded a first-innings lead.
Wells scored 100 not out off 137 balls with 18 fours and a six, and put up an unbroken stand of 185 for the fourth wicket with Neil Broom to take Otago home in 86 overs. Broom himself made an unbeaten 89 after Hamish Rutherford (96 off 98) and Michael Bracewell (65) had chipped in with fifties of their own to build a solid platform for Otago's mammoth chase.
Canterbury, put in to bat, managed 280 in their first essay, thanks to Tom Latham's 93, as well as a 62-ball 52 from Todd Astle. At 250 for 6, Canterbury looked set to reach a total north of 300, but offspinner Mark Craig finished with 5 for 56 to help bowl the team out in 85.1 overs. Otago, however, could muster only 200 in reply as Matt Henry picked up five wickets to run through a line-up that offered no resistance barring an 85 from Derek de Boorder.
With a lead of 80 in hand, Canterbury would have liked to push on, but were hampered by wickets at regular intervals from Wells. Latham once again struck a fifty and Rob Nicol top-scored with 95 as the team nonetheless reached a total of 298 to set Otago a daunting 379 to chase down. Ultimately though, it wasn't enough.
Auckland and Wellington played out a high-scoring draw at the Basin Reserve.
Auckland matched the score with most of their batsmen making starts. De Grandhomme, Craig Cachopa and Bruce Martin struck fifties, as Mark Gillespie, Brent Arnel, Jeetan Patel and Luke Woodcock picked up two wickets each.
Grant Elliott scored 105 in Wellington's second innings, but apart from the opener Stephen Murdoch's 63, he received little support from the other batsmen. De Grandhomme took a further four wickets to take his match haul to seven, and helped bundle the hosts out for 298, leaving Auckland 299 for victory.
However, with only a handful of overs left, a stalemate was the likely result. Tim McIntosh and Jeet Raval batted out 21 balls without suffering a casualty, before the umpires called for stumps.
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