Gallant Auckland come up short

Auckland 185 for 7 (Vincent 58, Guptill 55) beat Central Districts 180 for 8 (Mills 3-32) by three wickets

Auckland missed out on a place in Sunday's State Twenty20 final despite beating Central Districts by three wickets in a nail-biting run chase at Pukekura Park. Needing to win well to pip Northern Districts into the final on net run-rate, Auckland were off the pace once Central Districts had rattled up 180 for 8, leaving them 10.2 overs to get the runs within the necessary time.

Martin Guptill and Lou Vincent certainly went for it, blasting the score to 78 in five overs. Guptill needed 15 balls for his half-century while Vincent used 17, adding 46 in 16 balls for the second wicket. Both men fell shortly after reaching their fifties and although the middle-order kept swinging, at the 10.2-over mark Auckland were 156 for 6. Thereafter things calmed down and Auckland took another six overs to knock off the 25 they still required.

Central Districts' innings was a real team effort as five batsmen passed 20 but none were able to go on to make a significant score, Brendon Diamanti's unbeaten 31 off 17 balls the biggest contribution. Their innings was going well before three run-outs reduced them to 128 for 7. Diamanti re-started things, being particularly savage on Paul Hitchcock who was recalled to the national side 24 hours earlier.

Central Districts will now host Northern Districts in the final, mindful that when the two sides met earlier in the competition they came off second best.