Race for semi-finals heats up

A round-up of the latest action from the State Shield in New Zealand

Cricinfo staff
Wellington kept their hopes of reaching Sunday's semi-finals alive with a 21-run victory over Central Districts in Palmerston North. Stephen Fleming's 45 was one of many useful contributions from the Wellington batsmen, who were led by Neal Parlane's attacking 65, which included seven fours and two sixes, as they posted 274 for 8. After being boosted by Ewen Thompson's 5 for 45, the home side's chase began well as they reached 89 for 1, but they lost three quick wickets before Mathew Sinclair (69) regained control with Bevan Griggs (74). However, they were unable to keep up with the required rate and were dismissed in the 48th over, with Iain O'Brien capturing 4 for 44 and Jeetan Patel closing out the game with 4 for 47. The result left Wellington in third on 19 points while their opponents have 18 with one round of group matches remaining.
Auckland will finish top of the State Shield table and have a home final even if they lose to Central Districts on Wednesday after a tight five-run win over Northern Districts in Hamilton. The match was reduced to 49 overs and Auckland's total of 278 for 7 relied on contributions of 77 from Richard Jones and 72 from Scott Styris, who warmed up for the important fourth ODI against England on Wednesday. Andrew Strauss put Northern Districts in a strong position with 106 from 127 balls and when he left Peter McGlashan took over, blasting 62 off 26, including five sixes. It was not enough and the home side, which is last, narrowly missed out on staying in the race for the finals.
Rain in the lead-up to the game ruined the clash between Canterbury and Otago in Christchurch. The conditions were fine, but the ground was not fit for play due to the wet weather over the previous week. Both teams earned a couple of points, with Canterbury in second on 21 while Otago are tied on 18 with Central Districts.
Team Mat WonLost Tied N/R Pts Net RR ForAgainst
Auckland 9 7 20 0 29 +0.377 2286/420.3 2217/438.1
Canterbury 9 4 4 01 20 -0.017 1882/375.4 1917/381.2
Wellington 9 4 4 0 119 -0.256 1872/379.5 1900/366.3
Central Dist 9 4 5 0 0 18+0.040 2079/412.2 2130/425.5
Otago 94 4 0 1 18 +0.0091913/384.3 1825/367.3
Northern Dis 9 26 0 1 10 -0.196 2071/399.02114/392.3