Rob Nicol and Dean Brownlie were the architects of Canterbury's 41-run win against Auckland in Christchurch, that propelled them into the finals of the NZC domestic one-day competition.
Auckland chose to field, but were held at bay by a 39-run opening stand between Michael Papps and Nicol that yielded 39. Papps' exit was followed by the cheap dismissal of captain Peter Fulton, but Nicol and Brownlie steadied things with a fluent partnership. Nicol struck 12 fours and a six in his 87 that came off 119 balls. Brownlie scored fewer boundaries - five fours and a six - but finished with a better strike-rate as he made 72 off 88 balls. The pair raised 136 runs in 26.2 overs to set Canterbury up for a late blitz. Andrew Ellis obliged with 31 off 22 balls, while Carl Frauenstein hit three fours in his seven-ball innings to push the score to 268. Chris Martin and Andre Adams combined for 5 for 88 off 20 overs, but the remaining bowlers struggled to hold their own.
Auckland lost Tim McIntosh early, but Lou Vincent and Jeet Raval charged after the target with frenetic half-centuries. Andrew Ellis' dismissal of Vincent, for 62 off 55 balls, began Auckland's slide. From 119 for 1 in 17.2 overs, they lost their way in the face of some incisive bowling. Mitchell Claydon finished with 4 for 44, while Ellis had figures of 3 for 38. Nicol chipped in with 2 for 44 off ten overs, as Auckland's lower order crumbled. They were bowled out for 227 in the 44th over. Despite the defeat, Auckland will get a chance to make the final when they take on Otago on February 9.
Otago booked their place for that fixture with a nine-run win in a rain-reduced game against Northern Districts in Queenstown. Northern batted first and through two rain breaks to reach 271 for 8 in their 50 overs. BJ Watling was the top-scorer, with a cautious 55 off 88 balls. The rest of the top order struggled and, when Watling exited at 125 for 5 in the 31st over, the innings was losing momentum. Joseph Yovich and Peter McGlashan combined to revive the innings with a 71-run partnership, before Anton Devcich lashed 42 off 21 to set Otago a tricky chase.
Otago's reply was stalled by early wickets, as Trent Boult and Graeme Aldridge removed the openers. The middle order did not fare much better and, at 80 for 5 in the 19th over, their challenge seemed set to fade. Darren Broom and Derek de Boorder, though, had other plans.
Making light of the pressure of the situation, and the frequent rain interruptions, the pair whittled away at the target with assurance. Broom struck nine fours in 85 balls as he reached 85, while de Boorder struck eight boundaries in his 74. The pair had added 165 in 27.4 overs when rain intervened for the final time. No more play was possible, and Otago were adjudged winners since they were nine runs ahead of the par score when the game was called off.