Spurred by Ian Butler's figures of 6 for 28, a New Zealand domestic Twenty20 record, and Brendon McCullun's 65-ball century, Otago eased to victory over Auckland at the University Oval in Dunedin. Butler's six wickets, which surpassed Jacob Oram's 5 for 14 against Otago earlier this season, helped keep Auckland to 168, a total that owed plenty to Scott Styris (54) and Gareth Hopkins (25). Butler began by sending back Ravi Bopara and Lou Vincent, then removed Gareth Hopkins, Anaru Kitchen and Styris, and beat Oram's record by bowling Reece Young in the 18th over.
Auckland were then punished by McCullum, who with Hamish Rutherford (38) put on 101 in 12.1 overs for the first wicket. McCullum gave the spectators a dazzling treat by hitting ten fours and four sixes and his onslaught began immediately against an attack featuring Daryl Tuffey and Styris. He raised his 50 off 32 balls, after which Styris bowled a tight spell that gave Otago some lift thereafter, dismissing Rutherford, Neil Broom and Craig Cumming. But McCullum smashed Michael Bates for 16 in the 19th over to whittle the target down to five from the final six balls. He finished on 108 as Otago won with three balls to spare, thereby cementing second spot on the points table. The defending champions now hold a six-point lead over Auckland.
Seth Rance capped his Twenty20 debut with a match-winning bowling display that helped Central Districts maintain their lead in the HRV Cup with an eight-wicket win over Canterbury in Nelson. CD captain Jamie How's decision to field first with Rance taking 4 for 13 in four overs to keep Canterbury to 135 for 8. In response, CD were taken over the finish line by the opener Peter Ingram (77 not out) with five balls to spare.
Rance, 22, has played four first-class matches but no limited-overs fixtures. He made an immediate impression, dismissing Rob Nicol, Shanan Stewart and Johann Myburgh and finishing off his spell with the big scalp of Craig McMillan. McMillan, returning from a calf strain, hit 38 off 26 balls before he was bowled by Rance in the 15th over. Peter Fulton, Canterbury's captain, was unbeaten on 41 from 35 balls but found little assistance. The overseas import chipped in with 2 for 19. CD's chase began with the How being run out for 5, but Ingram and the in-form Mathew Sinclair put on 93 to keep the chase going strongly. This was CD's fifth win from six matches, while for basement-dwellers Canterbury it was their fifth straight defeat.
At Mt Maunganui, Northern Districts beat Wellington by six wickets. Wellington batted first but only managed 119 for 9 with Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori turning in economical outings. Owais Shah (29), James Franklin (20) and Matthew Bell (25) were the main contributors to that poor total. The big overseas signing, Tillakaratne Dilshan, did not make an impression as he was out for just 4, but Peter McGlashan, opening the innings, hit 43 from 38 balls and Vettori, at No.3, made 39 from 32. The chase ended in a flurry of four successive sixes capping victory with 3.3 overs to spare.