Canterbury 214 for 5 (Cairns 41*, Astle 39) beat Central Districts 212 for 8 ( Taylor 50, Cairns 4 for 53) by 5 wickets
Chris Cairns showed what a loss he will be to New Zealand, with a brilliant allround performance to lead Canterbury to the national one-day title, against Central Districts at Christchurch. Cairns ended the match with a mammoth six to give Canterbury an anti-climatic five-wicket victory over a Central side that dug itself a ditch it couldn't extract itself from. His 41 not out and 4 for 53 was the dominant performance of the match.
It could have all been so different though. Central allowed its suspicion that Canterbury had prepared a sluggish pitch to assist their slow attack to effect its batting. Ross Taylor (50 from 40) and Mathew Sinclair (37 from 41), the class acts in the Central line-up, slowed how batting should be approached, but once Taylor played on to Nathan Astle, (1 for 34 off 10 overs) and Sinclair was needlessly run out, the wheels fell off the Central effort.
Jarrod Englefield (42 retired hurt from 76) and Bevan Griggs (42 from 71) got hopelessly bogged down just when Central needed to accelerate. That put too much pressure on the incoming batsmen and Central fell 40 runs short of what they seemed likely to achieve when the 50 overs ended with it 212 for 8. Shane Bond (1 for 32), Astle and Cairns were the pick of the bowlers.
In reply Canterbury was always in control, winning with a massive 14.4 overs remaining. Michael Papps (28), Astle (39), Peter Fulton (26), Shanan Stewart (36 not out) and Cairns ensured that victory was a formality.
Chris Harris, Canterbury captain, paid tribute to his departing allrounder: "It was nice that we got to dedicate it to Cairnsy. He's had a phenomenal career, not only at Canterbury but with New Zealand also."
Dylan Cleaver is senior sports writer of Herald on Sunday