A six-wicket haul by Ryan McCone sent Northern Districts crashing to 119, thereby helping Canterbury secure a home preliminary final following their six-wicket win at the Hagley Oval. Canterbury chased down the target within 27 overs and the two teams will meet again on Sunday, with the winner progressing to the final and the loser to meet the winner of the second preliminary final.
It could have been worse for Northern Districts, who were reduced to 40 for 8 at one stage. Hamish Bennett started the slide by removing the openers before McCone, the right-arm seamer, took three middle-order wickets. Mitchell Santer witnessed his partners collapsing around him and the only player to offer support was the No.10 Anurag Verma who scored 19. The pair added 68, with Santer scoring 61 before he was bowled by Bennett. McCone cleaned up the tail to finish with his best figures of 6 for 19. Canterbury were carried by a third-wicket stand of 79 between Rob Nicol and Dean Brownlie.
Auckland came through by five runs in a high-scoring game against Wellington at Basin Reserve. Chasing 303, Wellington were in a good position at 277 in the 46th over but collapsed to 297. Colin de Grandhomme followed up his 84 with 4 for 48 to cap a fine all-round performance.
Auckland were given a good start by the openers Tim McIntosh and Anaru Kitchen, who added 86. McIntosh scored 73 but the most vital contribution came from de Gradhomme who smashed 84 from just 53 balls with nine fours and three sixes to power Auckland towards 300. Wellington began steadily in the chase and a third-wicket stand of 97 between Tom Blundell and Stephen Murdoch put them on course. De Grandhomme removed Murdoch for 71 but Wellington took back the initiative with another stand of 97 between James Franklin and Grant Elliott. Franklin's fall at 55 sparked a collapse, with de Grandhomme taking two lower-order wickets and effecting a run out to highlight Auckland's dramatic comeback. The win means that Auckland will get to host the second preliminary final against Wellington on Sunday.
At the University Oval in Dunedin, Jesse Ryder smashed 96 off just 69 balls to set up Otago's 106-run win over Central Districts. After being put in to bat, Otago were at an unsteady 80 for 4 before Ryder cut loose. He added 41 with Ryan ten Doeschate and then 72 for the seventh wicket with Mark Craig. He smashed five sixes in his knock before he was dismissed by Tarun Nethula, who took 4 for 35. Central Districts never recovered after they lost their openers to Bradley Scott by the fourth over. Only Kruger van Wyk resisted, with 34, but the middle order collapsed to Ian Butler and Craig who shared seven wickets between them. Central Districts crashed to 127 in the 30th over.