Northern Districts cruise to win on Watling, Brownlie fifties

Northern Districts 143 for 1 (Brownlie 54, Watling 53*) beat Auckland 142 for 6 (Horne 39, Boult 2-21, Kuggeleijn 2-28) by nine wickets

On the back of half-centuries from their openers, Northern Districts cantered to a nine-wicket win with all of 27 balls remaining against Auckland in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday.

Dean Brownlie slammed 54 off 34 balls, while BJ Watling anchored the chase of 143 with an unbeaten 53 off 48, to help the team race home in the 16th over. The pair put on 87 in ten overs to set up the chase nicely, before Corey Anderson joined Watling and put the result beyond doubt with a couple of big hits. Anderson stayed not out on 23 off 13 balls, including two sixes.

Auckland, after choosing to bat, were kept to 142 for 6 via contributions from most of the Northern Districts bowlers. Pacer Scott Kuggeleijn got rid off both Auckland openers, while a run-out accounted for No. 3 Rob Nicol for a duck. Offspinner Jono Boult and fast bowler Trent Lawford saw off the middle order, taking three wickets between them in economical spells. Legspinner Ish Sodhi did not break through, but he too kept the runs in check, giving away only 25 in four overs.

The biggest contributions for Auckland came from Ben Horne and Mark Chapman, their Nos. 6 and 5, who scored 39 and 30 respectively. Donovan Grobbelaar powered them over 140 with two sixes in four balls at the end, but the total still proved to be inadequate for a rampant Northern Districts top order.