Brendon McCullum continued his winning ways with his unbeaten 108 steering Otago into the State Shield final against Auckland next Sunday. Having taken 77 off 43 balls from England on Saturday to help New Zealand take the series, McCullum backed up for his provincial side in Christchurch as they defeated Canterbury by six wickets with four overs to spare.
Canterbury, McCullum's former team, batted first and Iain Robertson's 53 and Peter Fulton's 66 set the platform for what looked like a healthy total of 8 for 262. The spin of Nathan McCullum was potent and economical - he picked up 2 for 26 from ten overs - while Brad Scott chipped in with 3 for 40, including the important wickets of Robertson and his opening partner Michael Papps.
In reply Otago lost Aaron Redmond for 0, but as long as McCullum was there they had nothing to worry about. He struck nine fours and a six, but was much more considered than on the previous evening, spending 126 balls at the crease. Alex Gidman's 81 was also an important innings and Neil Broom swept in at the finish to blast four fours and three sixes in his 41 not out off 27.
Otago now have the chance to upset Auckland, who finished on top of the ladder, and reverse the result of last season. Auckland won by five wickets on that occasion and they have the advantage of hosting the game.