<
>

Central Districts clinch two-wicket win in final hour

Jesse Ryder's six drew the scores level Getty Images

A riveting final session in Dunedin witnessed Jesse Ryder and Ajaz Patel steer Central Districts to a two-wicket victory over Otago, with less than six overs to spare, in their pursuit of 332. Piloting the chase were captain Will Young (83) and Ross Taylor (90) who stitched a 166-run third-wicket stand, after the openers fell inside the first ten overs.

Young's dismissal, however, led to Central Districts losing three wickets for 16 runs around the tea break, with another 124 required to win. They headed into the last session with Taylor and Ryder at the crease but Jacob Duffy removed Taylor and Tom Bruce within the space of three balls in the second over after the break. However, Ryder's unbeaten 54-ball 31 anchored a 74-run sixth-wicket partnership with wicketkeeper Dane Cleaver - who struck a brisk 45-ball 56 - and a 34-run stand for the eighth wicket with Navin Patel (26) even in the face of a sixth first-class five-for from 23-year-old Duffy. Central Districts were 40 away from the target when the seventh wicket fell and Duffy gave them another scare with Navin's dismissal before Ajaz, the No. 10 batsman, pulled Michael Rae for a four to secure the third victory for his side.

Having reduced Otago to 161 for 5 overnight, Ajaz and Adam Milne - who bagged a five-for each - took out the remainder of batsmen for only 16 runs inside 4.1 overs of the first session of day four. No Otago batsman managed to reach 40 as they were bundled out for 177.

Central Districts' triumph corresponded to Otago's third loss in four games, despite having amassed 513 in the first innings, steered by Hamish Rutherford's 142 and Derek de Boorder's 140. Duffy's three-for negated four first-innings half-centuries from the Central Districts line-up - including those from Ryder and Tom Bruce - and handed Otago a lead of 154 but proved insufficient to avert a narrow loss.