Napier, March 24 - 27, 2015, Plunket Shield
(fo) 233 & 371

Auckland won by an innings and 64 runs


Munro breaks records and Central Districts

A round-up of the Plunket Shield matches that finished on March 27, 2015

Colin Munro's 281 off 167 balls, which contained a first-class record of 23 sixes, set up Auckland's victory by an innings and 64 runs against Central Districts in Napier. Munro's career-best effort helped Auckland amass 668 at 4.63 per over, after which Central Districts were dismissed for 233 and 371. The match ended on the fourth afternoon.
The contest did not start badly for Central Districts. They chose to field and then dismissed the openers early, reducing Auckland to 64 for 2. Then Munro took over, adding 157 with Carl Cachopa to steady the innings. Munro was the fourth wicket to fall though, with Auckland on 435, but after his dismissal Brad Cachopa hurt Central Districts with 135 off 201 balls. After finishing the first day on 471 for 5, Auckland declared on 668 for 7 on the second.
Central Districts ended day two in deeper trouble after they were reduced to 148 for 6. That slide continued on the third day - they were dismissed in 72 overs and conceded a first-innings lead of 435. Kruger van Wyk was the top scorer with 67, and Will Young's 47 was the only other score above 25. Michael Bates claimed 3 for 51 for Auckland, and Tarun Nethula went for only 28 in 16 overs and took two wickets.
Auckland enforced the follow-on and though Central Districts batted better it wasn't enough to make their opponents bat again. They were all out for 371 in 93.4 overs. Lachie Ferguson claimed 5 for 58; his scalps included Central Districts' top-three batsmen. Young top scored with 86, and Tom Bruce and van Wyk made fifties, but support above and below them was thin. Matthew Quinn and Nethula took two wickets each for Auckland.
A match haul of nine wickets from Brent Arnel cancelled out Anton Devcich's tally of 201 runs as Wellington chased down 168 to beat Northern Districts by six wickets with a day to spare at the Basin Reserve. Wellington bagged 17 points from the game but Northern Districts stayed third with 94 points compared to Wellington's 89.
The bowlers vindicated Wellington's decision to bowl by reducing Northern Districts to 32 for 5 inside 14 overs. Anton Devcich and Mitchell Santner added 63 for the sixth wicket to resurrect the innings before the latter was pinned lbw by Arnel. Devcich, though, shared a 99-run partnership with Ish Sodhi and counterattacked his way to 132 off 172 balls, his second century in as many games. Arnel accounted for both and ended with figures of 6 for 62 as Northern Districts were skittled for 240.
In response, Wellington rode on Deepak Joon's century to gain a first-innings lead of 37 runs, which proved decisive in the end. Joon, who made a career-best 113, strung together 124 for the fourth wicket with James Franklin to steer the hosts, but a late-order collapse sparked by James Baker and Scott Kuggeleijn meant that they slumped from 237 for 3 to 287 all out.
Northern Districts' top order did not fare any better in the second innings, leaving Devcich to do too much on his own. He hit 69 while Aldridge crunched 37 off 48 balls to take Northern Districts past 200. Arnel sparkled with the ball again, taking three wickets, including that of Aldridge.
However, the 168-run target hardly challenged Wellington, courtesy fifties from opener Michael Papps and Stephen Murdoch.

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