Croft, Styris steer Northern Districts to win
Middle-order batsmen Steven Croft and Scott Styris helped Northern Districts to a six-wicket win against Central Districts in Hamilton
Northern Districts 153 for 4 (Croft 59*, Styris 46, Foster 26, Wheeler 2-23) beat Central Districts149 for 6 (Cachopa 64*, Croft 2-12) by six wickets
Middle-order batsmen Steven Croft and Scott Styris' 80-run partnership and wicketkeeper James Foster's quick 26 helped Northern Districts to a six-wicket win against Central Districts in Hamilton. Carl Cachopa's aggressive 64 took Central Districts to 149, but that wasn't enough as their opponents dug themselves out of trouble at 20 for 3 to reach the target in the final over. After choosing to bat, Central Districts began slowly, and wickets from England-import Croft and Styris left them struggling at 17 for 2 in the sixth over. But Cachopa, who is the second-highest run-getter so far in the Plunket Shield, guided the innings to help his team reach a fighting total. He put on 30 patiently with captain Kieran Noema-Barnett, and accelerated thereafter. He brought up his half-century in the 18th over, with the help of three sixes in seven deliveries. In the last 5.3 overs in the company of Will Young and Marty Kain, he added 70 runs to take their total to 149 off 20 overs.
Northern Districts' reply began poorly, with the top three batsmen being dismissed for 20 runs in the fourth over. Croft, who had bowled an effective spell of 2 for 12 in his two overs earlier, began the repair with captain Styris. The duo added 80 runs in 11 overs, but the required run rate had climbed up to a tad over ten an over. Foster, who arrived after Styris was out lbw to Ben Wheeler, took 12 balls to score 26 runs, and with Croft, who remained unbeaten on 59, reached the target with five deliveries to spare. Croft is now HRV Cup's highest run-getter.
Northern Districts top the table after the win, and Central Districts occupy the fourth position.