Medium pacer Anurag Verma's career-best 5 for 44 helped Wellington beat Central Districts by four wickets in Napier and remain unbeaten after two rounds of the Ford Trophy, the domestic 50-over competition.
Central Districts elected to bat, and made 212 for 9, thanks largely to Josh Clarkson's 68. They began with a half-century stand between George Worker and Jesse Ryder, before Verma and Jeetan Patel, the offspinner, sliced through the top order. Clarkson then put together 67 for the fifth wicket with Dane Clever to help stablise the innings, before another collapse resulted in them slipping to 167 or 8. Navin Patel's unbeaten 37-ball 19 helped haul the total past 200.
Michael Papps led Wellington's chase, giving them a solid start with a 55-ball 50. Worker prised out three top-order wickets to leave them in a hint of trouble at 107 for 4 in the 25th over, and Blair Tickner's double-strike left them 157 for 6 in the 39th over. But Luke Woodcock took over, making 63 not out and sharing an unbroken 57-run seventh-wicket stand with Verma, who contributed 16, to steer Wellington home with eight balls to spare.
Northern Districts ran through Canterbury's batting line-up before their openers made quick work of a target of 136 to complete a nine-wicket win at Hamilton's Seddon Park. Brett Randell's medium-pace earned him figures of 4 for 34 while a 131-run first-wicket stand between Dean Brownlie - who remained not out on 55 - and Joe Carter (64) all but took Northern Districts home to a stutter-free win.
Choosing to bat, Canterbury lost their first two wickets for 45 runs inside 10 overs. A 35-run stand for the third wicket - the side's biggest partnership - followed between Jack Boyle (41) and Peter Fulton (26), but the fall of Fulton began Canterbury's spiral out of control. Brett Hampton took three middle-order wickets, while Randell ran through the tail. Canterbury's innings only lasted 32 overs.
Openers Brownlie and Carter struck half-centuries in Northern Districts' response, their partnership ending when Logan van Beek dismissed Carter five runs shy of the target. Eventually, they got home with 30.3 overs to spare.
Sean Solia's 73-ball 84 laid the platform for Auckland to beat Otago by 19 runs at the Eden Park Outer Oval. Having chosen to bat, Auckland were 24 for 2 and then 68 for 3 before Solia and Robert O'Donnell (42) added 92 for the fourth wicket. Five wickets then fell for the addition of only 27 runs, leaving Auckland 187 for 8 in the 41st over, before Donovan Grobbelaar (45 off 41 balls) and Lockie Ferguson (24 off 23) revived them with a 57-run ninth-wicket stand. It wasn't enough for Auckland to last their full quota - they were bowled out in 48.4 overs - but it ensured they finished with a competitive 257. Anaru Kitchen and James Neesham took four wickets each.
Otago made a strong start to their chase, with Brad Wilson scoring 40 and adding 54 in 9.3 overs for the first wicket with GW Croudis, before a third-wicket stand of 47 between Ryan Duffy and Neesham left them a solid 121 for 2 in the 23rd over. Both fell soon after, though, and when the legspinner Tarun Nethula struck in successive overs to dismiss Michael Bracewell and Sam Wells, Otago were sinking at 196 for 7. Wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder struck 36 off 32 balls, but it wasn't enough with wickets falling around him, and Otago eventually folded for 238, with 4.3 overs still remaining.