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Nicol leads Auckland romp

Rob Nicol hits through the off side Associated Press

Rob Nicol led Auckland to a comfortable eight-wicket victory against Wellington after the home side had failed to capitalise on an excellent platform. Nicol struck an unbeaten 71 off 43 deliveries to hurry his team across the line with 19 deliveries to spare chasing a target of 168. Following the early loss of Luke Wright, who fell to fellow county player Luke Fletcher in the opening over, Nicol built a stand of 93 in nine overs for the second wicket with Anaru Kitchen (43) and then an unbroken 76 with Craig Cachopa.

Earlier, having been put into bat, Wellington's openers, Michael Pollard and Michael Papps, added 70 in seven overs but Pollard's dismissal to Tarun Nethula - who bowled his four overs for 13 with a maiden - sucked the life out of the innings. Brad Hodge could only muster 1 off eight deliveries and although late striking by Matthew Taylor, who clubbed three sixes, injected some late life the total proved well short. The result lifted Auckland into third ahead of their opponents.