Central Districts captain Mathew Sinclair showed a clear head and a wide bat to guide his team to a comfortable State Shield one-day cricket win over Auckland today.
Sinclair struck a fluent, unbeaten 84 to ensure Central Districts got home by five wickets with more than 10 overs to spare at Eden Park Outer Oval in Auckland.
Chasing a modest 206, the visitors were given a rollicking start by Doug Bracewell, who opened his arms at the top of the innings to clout 55 off 70 balls.
Bracewell did not apply the breaks despite the early loss of Peter Ingram and George Worker, hitting eight fours and one six before he was run out.
When Bevan Griggs was run out for one, Central Districts had cause for concern as they slipped to 112 for four but Sinclair took central stage to drive them home.
Sinclair hit 11 fours and one six, facing just 77 deliveries and taking particular delight in attacking international fast bowler Chris Martin.
Martin was the best of the Auckland bowlers with three wickets, but his 9.3 overs cost 69 runs.
Earlier, Auckland posted 205 largely thanks to English county professional Steven Croft, who contributed a patient 59 from No 7 in the order.
Croft hit just four boundaries in his 93-ball innings but Auckland would have been lost without him after slumping to 108 for seven in the 27th over.
He found a willing accomplice in Roneel Hira and the pair shared a stand of 65 for the eighth wicket, with Hira eventually making an invaluable 41 at No 10.
Of the upper order, only Reece Young, with 32, and Paul Hitchcock, 28, made starts as the Central Districts bowlers dominated.
New Twenty20 international Ewen Thompson was the most successful with three wickets but he was also the most expensive as he gave up 52 runs from nine overs.
Medium pacer Bracewell and Brendon Diamanti picked up two wickets apiece while legspinner Robbie Schaw did a tidy job in taking one for 30 from his 10 overs.