Parlane, Kitchen power Auckland into final

Auckland 337 for 3 (Parlane 117, Kitchen 110*) beat Otago 264 (Rutherford 62, Kitchen 3-52) by 73 runs

Neal Parlane and Anaru Kitchen slammed hundreds in the third preliminary final of the Ford Trophy at Colin Maiden Park, to propel Auckland to a match-winning 337 against Otago. Though Otago launched a brave chase, the total proved to be out of their reach. Auckland went on to win by 73 runs, and will defend their domestic one-day title against Central Districts in New Plymouth on February 12.

Auckland chose to bat and were provided a steady start by Bradley Cachopa and Jeet Raval. The pair added 82 at over four runs an over before Cachopa was dismissed for 41. Raval went on to make 52 before falling in the 21st over, leaving the score on 99 for 2. Parlane and Kitchen built on this start, scoring at a fine clip to up the run-rate.

Parlane, who broke into Auckland XI as Colin de Grandhomme and Ronnie Hira were called away on international duty, and Andre Adams to the Bangladeshi Premier League, scored only the second ton of his 107-List A match career. His 117 off 94 balls included seven fours and four sixes, while Kitchen hit eight fours and five sixes in his maiden List A century. In all, the partnership accounted for 222 runs - just 20 runs short of the Auckland record - at over eight an over. Kitchen was unbeaten on 110 off 81 as Auckland finished on 337 for 3.

Several of the Otago batsmen got off to starts in the chase, but none could push on to a big score. Opener Hamish Rutherford was their top scorer, with 62 off 60. Chris Martin was miserly, going for just 3.36 and claiming a wicket, but the star for Auckland, once more, was Kitchen. He capped his memorable day by claiming three wickets and a run-out in combination with Gareth Hopkins, as Otago were bowled out for 264 in the 46th over.