Astle, Fletcher extend Canterbury's winning streak

File photo – Todd Astle anchored top scored with 59 and claimed 3 for 31 © Getty Images

Canterbury continued their unbeaten streak in this season’s Ford Trophy with a 47-run win over Otago, that was built on an all-round performance from Todd Astle, who scored 59 and took three wickets.

Choosing to bat, Canterbury were reduced to 8 for 3 inside the first seven overs, with Neil Wagner among the wickets. An 84-run, fourth-wicket partnership between Andrew Ellis and Astle revived Canterbury, and the latter took Canterbury past 150. The side were given a strong finish by wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher (47*) and Cole McConhie (45), who added 73 in a rapid partnership to lift Canterbury to 257 for 7.

Canterbury’s bowlers, led by Ed Nuttall, broke through the top order early, leaving Otago at 40 for 3 in the ninth over. Hamish Rutherford tried to revive the 258-run chase, sharing in stands of 58 and 48 for the fourth and fifth wickets. He had good support from James Neesham, who scored 34, but once the batsmen were dismissed, Astle quickly cleaned up the lower order with 3 for 31 to seal the win. Fletcher embellished his knock of 47 in the first innings with three catches and a stumping as Otago were bowled out for 210.

Four fifties – from captain Will Young (85), Tom Bruce (71) George Worker (62) and Jesse Ryder (58) – powered Central Districts to 363 for 9, setting up an 81-run win over Northern Districts, in a game that saw both sides hit 31 sixes combined.

Worker and Ryder gave Central Districts a solid platform with an 88-run partnership for the second wicket. Bruce and Young capitalised on that, striking up 147 runs for the fourth wicket at a scoring rate of just over 10. Young’s 85 came off 57 balls with eight fours and four sixes, while Bruce struck 71 off 45 balls with four fours and five sixes. Tony Goodin took four wickets but every Northern Districts bowler conceded well over six runs an over as Central Districts piled on 363.

Northern Districts’ chase had slumped to 154 for 8, with Seth Rance doing most of the damage through a four-wicket burst at the top. Daryll Mitchell and No. 10 James Baker added 117 runs for the ninth wicket to whittle down the margin of defeat before the side was dismissed in the 46th over for 282. Mitchell’s 107-ball 120 was his career-best List A score with seven fours and eight sixes.

Auckland managed to hold off a late charge from Wellington wicketkeeper Tim Blundell to complete a 12-run win. Chasing 289 to win, Michael Papps and Blundell had revived Wellington’s chances, but Blundell’s dismissal in the 47th over sealed Auckland’s third win in the tournament, lifting them to second place on the table.

Papps had added 100 runs for the third wicket with Craig Cachopa, after which they were hurt by quick wickets in the middle order. Jeetan Patel and Blundell then took the side closer with a 41-run partnership for the win, although Patel added only 8 runs to the stand. Donovan Grobbelaar took the key wicket of Blundell before a series of run-outs limited Wellington to 276.

Earlier, fifties from debutant Michael Guptill-Bunce (73) and Mark Chapman (62) had led Auckland to 288.

Opting to bat, Guptill-Bunce built handy partnerships with the middle order before he was trapped by Patel in 31st over with the hosts on 158. Chapman then combined with Grobbelaar to add 71 for the seventh wicket to take Auckland past 250.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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