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Wellington to meet Central Districts in finals

A round-up of the State Championship matches that took place on March 29

Cricinfo staff
Neal Parlane's undefeated 109 helped Wellington qualify for the finals of the State Championship as their match against Canterbury at Basin Reserve ended in a draw. A 136-run stand between Parlane and Grant Elliot (54) which helped Wellington reach 335 for 6, three ahead of Canterbury's first innings score of 332, ensured that Wellington bagged first-innings points. With rain denying any chances of a result, Wellington did the least they could to qualify for the finals, based on their points tally, and also to secure a home advantage, when they take on the other finalists, Central Districts, at the Prime Finance Basin Reserve on April 3.
Jacob Oram starred for Central Districts with a career-best bowling performance to guide his side to the finals of the State Championship, as their match against Northern Districts ended in a rain-affected draw. Oram routed the opposition for 173 with figures of 6 for 45. Central Districts then scored 175 for 5 in their first innings and bagged points for their lead, ensuring a place in the finals against Wellington. Nick Horsely was the top scorer for Northern Districts with 76 while the rest struggled to cross double figures. Central Districts got off to a shaky start but Jarrod Englefield and Timothy Weston both scored half-centuries to help overtake Northern Districts.
Opposing captains in the State Championship match between Auckland and Otago did everything to force a result. Finally it went Auckland's way, who made a sporting declaration in the first innings, which was vindicated as they cantered to a four-wicket win. Kerry Walmsley ran through Otago, finishing with a six-wicket haul to leave them reeling at 70 for 9 in their second innings. Set a target of 240, Rob Nicol and Martin Guptill saw Auckland home, with useful contributions from the other batsmen. Both sides failed to qualify for the finals, based on their points at the end of the round-robin league matches.