Auckland finish top after draw

The State Auckland Aces are in the box-seat for the State Championship cricket final starting in Christchurch Lincoln on Monday after finishing top of the standings after round-robin play.

This means they will take the national title if their re-match with the State Central Stags in the five-day final which begins on Monday in Christchurch ends in a draw.

The prelude to the final, played on Auckland's Eden Park Outer Oval ended in a draw today.

Central resumed their first innings on the fourth and final day today on 276 for six with Mathew Sinclair on 100 and Doug Bracewell on nine.

Replying to Auckland's massive first innings total of 662 for five declared, Central's innings folded at 318 for nine with Sinclair unbeaten on 131.

Sinclair now leads the overall State MVP rankings, overtaking Graham Napier from Wellington who has led for the majority of the season.

Central batsman Tim Weston was unable to bat today after breaking a hand while fielding yesterday.

Having offered up a double century to Auckland's Jeet Raval, 256, and two other unbeaten centuries to teammates Gareth Hopkins, 132, and Colin de Grandhomme, 103, as well as Sinclair's effort, the runs continued to flow off the pitch.

Auckland's second innings saw opener Rob Nicol notch an unbeaten 104, the fifth century of the match while Hopkins was 70 not out when stumps were drawn at tea.

The pair came together with Auckland on 39 for three to put on 159 runs.

NZPA

Day three: Central 276-6 at stumps on day three, trail Auckland by 386

The State Central Stags made it through to 276 for six before bad lights stopped play on day three – still 386 runs behind the State Auckland Aces mammoth first innings total of 662. 

Peter Ingram made a solid 54 at the top of the order with Mathew Sinclair hitting his fourth State Championship century of the summer. 

Sinclair, the top ranked State MVP ranked batsman, is unbeaten on 100 and holding the innings together for the Stags. 

Auckland left-arm bowler Michael Bates has been the pick of the bowing attack taking three for 61.

Day two: Central 56-0, trail Auckland by 606

Twenty year old State Auckland Aces opener Jeet Raval took his overnight score of 156 to 256 to put his team in a commanding position  in the State Championship match against the State Central Stags. 

Raval, who migrated from India four years ago, hit 43 fours and two sixes and equaled the third highest first-class score for Auckland. 

He was supported by Gareth Hopkins who is made a patient unbeaten 132. 

The wicket of Ravel brought Colin de Grandhomme to the crease and he promptly carted the Central attack around the park, reaching 103 off 92 before the declaration came with the Aces five down on 662.

De Grandhomme extended his lead at the top of the State Championship MVP table and will be difficult to overtake with one match remaining.

Central openers Peter Ingram (34*) and George Worker (19*) negotiated 21 overs at the end of the day and will resume their first innings on 56 without loss.

Day one: Auckland 323-4 at stumps on day one against Central

The State Auckland Aces put on 323 for four after being put into bat by the State Central Stags in the State Championship match at Eden Park’s Outer Oval.

Aces opener Jeet Ravel struck an impressive unbeaten 156 including 28 boundaries.

Ravel combined with Reece Young to put on 152 for the fourth wicket before Young was dismissed for 74.

Auckland wicketkeeper-batsman Gareth Hopkins will resume on 14 not out with the Ravel heading towards a double century.

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