Otago surge to win after Northern Districts collapse
Northern Districts were dismissed for 139 in a chase of 201, giving Otago a 61-run win in Dunedin.
Ish Sodhi's 7 for 102 had limited Otago's second innings to 287, leaving Northern Districts with a 201-run target. Their chase, however, unraveled with a slide that saw them tumble from 31 for 1 to 61 for 8. James Baker's unbeaten 41 pushed the score past 100 but he had little support to count on as the side folded in 51 overs.
Otago had scored 237 in the first innings after being put in to bat, limited by Northern Districts' quicks. The only significant contribution came from opener Brad Wilson, who scored 97 even as Scott Kuggeleijn (3-72), Baker (3-42) and Tony Goodin (4-50) chipped away at the line-up.
Northern Districts then surged from a shaky 82 for 4 to take an 87-run lead, thanks to opener Daniel Flynn's 92 and a 73 from Daryl Mitchell. Sodhi enhanced their position with his seven-for, running through the line-up for his best first-class returns in an innings. Otago were kept to 287 despite an opening stand of 103 and fifties from Brad Wilson (64) and Michael Bracewell (96). No other batsman crossed a score of 40 in the innings.
An innings-and-119-run win over Wellington helped Auckland climb to the top of the Plunket Shield table. Wellington could only manage scores of 174 and 219 in their innings, failing to match Auckland's mammoth total of 512 for 9 declared, set up by a knock of 167 from Robert O'Donnell.
Auckland dominated from the start, reducing Wellington to 116 for 8 after putting them in to bat and eventually bowling them out for 174. Colin de Grandhomme took 4 for 31, cleaning up the lower middle order.
Auckland's reply was led by Michael Guptill-Bunce (89) and O'Donnell as they added 172 runs for the second wicket to firm up the side after the early wicket of Jeet Raval. O'Donnell was involved in two other half-century stands and, after his dismissal, Auckland were strengthened further with an 85-run stand for the ninth wicket between medium-pacer Donovan Grobbelaar and legspinner Tarun Nethula.
Grobbelaar (3-27) and Nethula (4-77) then took seven wickets between them to rout Wellington for 219. Scott Borthwick chipped in with 55 from 106 deliveries but another collapse saw Wellington lose their last six wickets for 56 runs.
Will Young's unbeaten 66 helped Central Districts eke out a closely fought draw against Canterbury in Nelson. Chasing a target of 376, Central Districts were at a strong 112 for 1 with opener Ben Smith's 78 leading the way. Their position quickly turned precarious, however, fast bowler Andrew Ellis began working his way through the line-up. Ellis dismissed the lower middle order cheaply on his way to 5 for 52 but Young helped Central hold on for the draw.
Young had earlier played another key knock, scoring 84 in his side's first-innings total of 168. His knock, which included eight fours and two sixes, had lifted the total in an innings where the next best score was 26. Kyle Jamieson did most of the damage for Canterbury taking 5 for 47.
Jamieson's five-for ensured Canterbury took a 36-run lead after they mustered 204 in their first innings. They were propped up solely by Peter Fulton's 89 as the batsman stitched together partnerships to steer the side against Central Districts' bowlers. They built on that lead with a stronger performance in the second innings, scoring 339. Opener Leo Carter top-scored with 82 and had support from Ellis who scored 63. Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel took 6 for 152, adding to his two wickets in the first innings.