Wellington advanced to the semifinals of the HRV Cup with a
win over Northern Districts today - and Auckland could join
them there with one more victory.
With Otago having already clinched top spot and secured a
home final for Sunday, four teams entered today with a chance
of making Friday's semifinal.
Wellington wrote their ticket with a tense victory at the
Basin Reserve, while Auckland eliminated Canterbury in
Rangiora and now have a chance of edging ND to the final
Auckland will need to beat last-placed Central Districts in
their final match at Eden Park on Tuesday, and they will need
to do it in comprehensive fashion to overtake the Knights on
Both of today's matches with playoff implications went to the
final over and, while Northern Districts failed to chase
Wellington's 181, Auckland overhauled Canterbury's 182 with
three balls and four wickets to spare.
The hero for the Aces was South African-born allrounder
Donovan Grobbelaar. The 29-year-old, enjoying his maiden
season of first class cricket, came to the crease with his
side needing 27 from the final 14 balls.
Grobbelaar promptly took 16 runs from three Andrew Ellis
deliveries in the penultimate over, before winning the game
with a boundary off Logan van Beek to finish unbeaten on 24
from just seven balls.
The result appeared unlikely earlier in Auckland's chase, but
Colin de Grandhomme (36 from 23) and Craig Cachopa (37 from
25) combined for a fifth-wicket partnership of 73 from 41
That set the stage for Grobbelaar to overtake Canterbury's
challenging target, set up by opener George Worker's 89 from
In Wellington, ND weren't able to match the northern
neighbours' second-innings success, with Australian Theo
Doropoulos making an immediate impact in his first game for
Wellington Cricket had announced before the game they had
secured the services of an import without revealing the
player's identity. When Doropoulos took his place in the
middle there was a hint of an anti-climax from a crowd hoping
for someone of Chris Gayle's ilk, but the Western Australian
more than made up for any disappointment.
The Knights needed 16 runs from the final over but Doropoulos
allowed just six and took a wicket from the last ball to
finish with figures of 3-24 from his four overs.
His death bowling denied ND captain James Marshall from
seeing his side home, with the batsman left stranded on 53
from 27 balls. His innings was the only reason the Knights
were able to get close to Wellington's total, built on the
back of an unbeaten second-wicket stand of 142 runs.
Jesse Ryder, by his own considerable standards, was
relatively sedate in his innings of 85 from 65 balls, but his
combination with Michael Papps (65 from 42) was the winning
of the match.
In the day's other game, Otago kept up their eight-match
winning streak ahead of Sunday's final by chasing down CD's
163 with three wickets and four balls in hand.