Canterbury calmly pocket Plunket Shield win

Canterbury calmly pocket Plunket Shield win

Day four: Canterbury Wizards 274 & 251 (George Worker 41, Shanan Stewart 72, Henry Nichols 43) beat Auckland Aces 165 & 357 by six wickets.  

The Canterbury Wizards refused to panic faced with a last day target of 233. They edged toward it all day, getting there with ten overs to spare. 

Opener George Worker was content to anchor the innings, using 161 balls to make 41 in the face of some tight fielding and miserly Aces bowling. Bruce Martin got through 30 of 88 overs, giving up just 2.93 an over, while de Grandhomme popped up with with figures of 10-6-11-2, at just 1.10 an over, including the crucial wicket of Dean Brownlie for 17. 

The key to Canterbury's chase was their partnerships, Auckland were never able to take wickets in clumps and get the pressure on. Shanan Stewart was  influential on this match yet again, but with the bat this time. He made 72 from 156 balls and the Aces were unable to get him out. His partnership of 54 with Brad Cachopa, who struck a breezy 40 from 35, saw Canterbury home - they bank 17 points from the match to put them second on the table.

Day three: Auckland 165 & 357 (Jeet Raval 107, Martin Guptill 85, Donovan Grobbelaar 51, Shanan Stewart 4-16) lead Canterbury 274 & 16-0 by 233 runs with 98 overs remaining. 

The equation is simple - Canterbury need 233 to win with ten wickets left at Eden Park #2.  Peter Fulton (6) and George Worker (10) will resume the Canterbury innings this morning after safely negotiating six overs on Thursday evening. 

Martin Guptill immediately retired hurt on 62 at the start of day three as a precautionary measure on a tight hamstring. Raval carried on where he left off on 54, and was able to convert his 50 to a hundred from 233 balls, including 16 fours. He received support from Gareth Hopkins (26), Colin de Grandhomme (35) and Martin Guptill, who returned after the 5th fell, to add 23 runs to his total and keep his comeback from injury on track. 

Ravel went on 107, and Donovan Grobbelaar (51) and Bruce Martin (29) made watchful progress to increase the Aces' lead, before Martin went caught by Peter Fulton from Todd Astle, and Grobbelaar was removed by Shanan Stewart to trigger a mini collapse. Auckland lost their last four wickets for just two runs and Stewart wound up with figures of 4-16. The Aces will be disappointed not to eek out a few more runs from their tail to set the Wizards a larger chase. As it is, the last day is poised nicely, with both teams capable of taking the points. 

Day two: Canterbury 274 (Henry Nicholls 88, Brad Cachopa 69) trail Auckland (Martin Guptill 62, Jeet Raval 54) by 15 runs. 

Canterbury built on their day one total thanks to Henry Nicholls and Brad Cachopa in bright sunshine at Eden Park #2. Cachopa scored nine fours in his 69, while Nicholls hit eight, patiently making his way to 88 before falling LBW to Michael Bates. Bates was the chief destroyer, taking 4-41, backed up by Dean Bartlett, who finished with 3-54. 

Afer Cachopa went, caught by Bates from Bartlett, the Canterbury tail failed to wag and the innings ended on 274, a lead of 109. 

Martin Guptill and Jeet Raval set about making up the deficit, then giving Auckland a lead of their own. Both men patiently brought up their half centuries before the close of play, with Guptill finishing on 62 and Raval on 54 to take Auckland to a lead of 15 with ten wickets in hand. 

If the fine weather and good conditions continue tomorrow, Auckland will look to build a strong position, with all their batsmen still to come, while Canterbury will obviously be looking to get among the wickets as early as possible. 

Day one: Auckland Aces 165 all out (Matt Quinn 50, Carl Cahopa 31, Matt Henry 3-41) lead the Canterbury Wizards 108-3 (Shanan Stewart 24, Henry Nicholls 30) by 57 runs. 

The Auckland Aces welcomed Martin Guptill back to their line up, as he completes his comeback from finger and ankle injuries. He got off to a start, along with fellow opener Jeet Raval, but Craig Cachopa was the only top order Auckland batsman to put a score together, making a fast 31 from 25 balls before falling to Shanan Stewart. Auckland were in desperate trouble at 96-9 before Dean Bartlett and Matt Quinn put on 69 runs for the last wicket in the story of Auckland's innings, to give the total a more respectable appearance. 

The Canterbury bowlers shared the first innings wickets among them, with Matt Henry taking 3-41, while Hamish Bennett, Matt McEwan and Shanan Stewart took two each. 

George Worker was run out for one from a magical Jeet Raval run out, and Peter Fulton soon joined him, scoring 5. Dean Brownlie made 37 before also being run out, before Stewart and Henry Nicholls saw out the day's play, with Canterbury 57 behind with seven wickets in hand. 

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