Auckland boost lead with comfortable win

Auckland and Canterbury taste victory in the latest round of State Shield

Cricinfo staff
Martin Guptill batted through the innings for 81 as Auckland extended their advantage at the top with a five-wicket success over the second-placed Otago in Dunedin. Batting first, Otago earned a strong start thanks to Aaron Redmond (42) and Greg Todd (48), but when Todd fell with the score on 99 they lost four quick wickets and slipped to 126 for 5. Contributions from Neil Broom (24) and Derek de Boorder (33) helped them scrape to 207 in 49 overs. Roneel Hira was a pest with the ball, giving up only 24 runs in ten overs, while Adams, Tuffey and Nichol collected two wickets each. Guptill guided the chase, which was achieved in 42 overs, and got the most support from Lou Vincent, who collected 36 before being bowled by Craig Smith.
Canterbury eased past Central Districts after their 275 for 9 was too strong for the visitors in Christchurch. Michael Papps' 48 and 47 to Chris Harris set up the total and Harris also had a say with the ball, giving up only 32 runs from his ten overs while taking the crucial wicket of Geoff Barnett. The opener Barnett had taken 55 from 85 balls when he slipped to Harris and the remaining batsmen could not keep up with the required rate, falling 58 runs short. Canterbury's third win in a row pushed them to 13 points, one behind today's opponents, who are third.
Continual rain interruptions ruined the match between Wellington and Northern Districts at the Basin Reserve. The weather intervened terminally after 28 overs and it was a relief for the visitors, who were struggling at 125 for 7. BJ Watling started well with 41, but after Iain O'Brien picked up two wickets, Grant Elliott captured three in six overs and Northern Districts were in severe trouble.