Brendon McCullum hammered the highest score in New Zealand's domestic one-day history, and also the fastest century, to drive Otago to their first State Shield title in 20 years. McCullum's hundred came from 52 balls and his 170 ensured Otago reached their target of 311 with an incredible 48 deliveries to spare.
It was a memorable day for Otago, who took the long road to the final in Auckland after a McCullum century also inspired their semi-final win on the road against Canterbury. Their previous State Shield triumph came in 1987-88 and when Martin Guptill's 110 guided Auckland to 310 for 7 it appeared that Otago's drought would continue.
But McCullum had other ideas and he eclipsed by 13 runs the previous fastest century in State Shield history. When he reached 135 he had the best one-day score by an Otago player, and by the time he hit 162 that became the highest for any New Zealand domestic team.
His 108-ball innings featured 19 fours and seven sixes, and his team-mate in the national side Chris Martin had a horror day, going for 81 from his eight overs. Craig Cumming shook off the disappointment of his Test axing by contributing 86 not out from 93 balls and their 194-run stand ended when McCullum was caught off Rob Nicol's bowling only five runs from victory.
They got there after 42 overs, which hardly looked likely after the reigning champions Auckland posted such a hefty total having been sent in. Guptill, 21, continued his superb season with a 137-ball innings that confirmed him as the leading scorer in the State Shield this season, finishing with 596 runs at 59.60.
Richard Jones made 76 and Scott Styris added 68 as Otago started to wonder if their decision to bowl first was a wise one. That was soon forgotten once McCullum's fireworks began and the fans at the Eden Park Outer Oval were given a day to remember.