Wellington fall just short
Auckland have been crowned National Provincial A champions after easily beating bottom placed Central Districts by eight wickets in the final round of Twenty20 cricket at Lincoln today. They completed the tournament with three wins from five 50-over matches and were unbeaten their three Twenty20 encounters to finish with a table topping 22 points.
Again it was the Auckland top order who proved to be the difference with opener Tim McIntosh belting 64 off 45 balls and number three batsman Jeet Ravel lashing 70 off 37 as they cruised past Central’s total with four overs to spare. Batting first, Central made 156 for seven with Dean Robinson striking 42 off 19 deliveries. The wickets were shared between Auckland bowlers Donovan Grobbelaar, Bhupinder Singh and Ajaz Patel who took two apiece. The reply was set up by a 129 runs partnership for the second wicket between McIntosh and Ravel with McIntosh smashing a six and a four to take Auckland’s total through to 160 for two in 16 overs.
Wellington beat Canterbury by 21 runs, taking their points tally to 22 – just one behind winners Auckland. Michael Papps (36), Stephen Murdoch (38) and Barry Rhodes (30*) made useful contributions to ensure Wellington posted a competitive 159 for six. Canterbury got off to a decent start in reply and at 71 for two look in control but the wicket of Todd Astle for 30 sparked a collapse that saw them lose their next eight wickets for 67 runs. Henry Nicholls did his best with 51 but lacked support from the rest of the team. Rhodes backed up his good batting with three for 17 while Niranjan Naguleswaran took three for 26.
Northern Districts finished the tournament on a high, beating Otago by six wickets to secure third spot in the tournament. Otago batted first and with the exception of Hamish Rutherford who struck 43 they struggled against the accurate bowling unit as they were all-out for 123. James Baker and Brent Arnel both returned figures of two for 20 while Jono Boult took two for 22. The run chase got off to a shaky start with both openers going cheaply before Daryl Mitchell (54) and Brook Hatwell (47) combined for a third wicket stand of 90 runs. Despite losing both batsmen towards the end of the innings they went on to reach 127 for four in 19.2 overs.
Auckland v Central Districts - http://scoring.blackcaps.co.nz/livescoring/match1334/scorecard.aspx
Wellington v Canterbury - http://scoring.blackcaps.co.nz/livescoring/match1333/scorecard.aspx
Northern Districts v Otago - http://scoring.blackcaps.co.nz/livescoring/match1330/scorecard.aspx
Auckland – 23
Wellington – 22
Northern Districts – 19
Otago – 13
Canterbury – 12.5*
Central Districts – 6