Aces move top after beating Stags

Auckland Aces went to the top of the national one-day cricket standings after they notched their third win in a row with a 40-run defeat of Central Stags at Colin Maiden Park.

In the other matches played today, Canterbury Wizards beat Wellington Firebirds by 59 runs at Christchurch while rain forced the match between Otago Volts and Northern Knights at Invercargill to be abandoned.

Boosted by half centuries from opener Jeet Raval and Colin Munro, Auckland scored 279 for nine after winning the toss and opting to bat first.

In reply, Central Districts could only muster 239 all out in the final over with opener George Worker who scored a breezy 57 off 64 balls the major contributor.

Raval, who scored 54, and Munro 68 got valuable support from Gareth Hopkins with a 43 while a wagging tail of Roneel Hira and Daryl Tuffey, 36 each, ensured Auckland achieved a healthy total.

Tarun Nethula, three for 46 and, Mitchell McClenaghan, three for 73 were the best of the Central Districts bowlers.

Peter Ingram and Worker put on 65 for the first wicket but once Jamie How, Worker and Mathew Sinclair departed, Central Districts' reply faltered.

Doug Bracewell scored a stout 24 off 27 balls and Adam Milne and McClenaghan combined for 41 runs for the 10th wicket but it was too little too late.

How and Jacob Oram, who were both included today in New Zealand's team for next month's World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, were unable to celebrate with significant contributions.

How faced three balls before departing for two and Oram scored a pedestrian five off 16 balls after returning bowling figures of one for 62.

At Christchurch, Canterbury put on 237 for eight after openers Rob Nicol, 84 and Michael Papps, 48, featured in an opening stand of 100 for the first wicket.

Shanan Stewart weighed in with a quickfire 54 off 52 balls and Andy Ellis chimed in with 30 off 22 balls to reinforce Canterbury's score.

Luke Woodcock celebrated his call-up to New Zealand's World Cup squad with four for 40.

Skipper Grant Elliott once again led from the front, this time with a 61 but Wellington were reined in at the other end. Their problems were compounded with Josh Brodie having to retire hurt and their innings folded after 44 overs at 178 for nine.

Auckland's victory saw them move to 12 points after four games and supplant Northern Districts at the top of the table.

Northern Districts, who led after three rounds, were becalmed after rain washed out their match against third placed Otago at Invercargill.

Northern Districts were 201 for nine after 45 overs when rain began to fall, preventing any further play at Queen's Park and both teams earned two points each.

NZPA

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