Northern secure fourth win to stay top

Daniel Vettori has shown encouraging signs ahead of the test series against South Africa by bowling Northern Districts to a commanding Plunket Shield victory over Canterbury.

The experienced left-arm spinner captured five for 89 off 33.1 overs to help dismiss Canterbury for 368 in their second innings on the final day at Rangiora’s MainPower Oval.

That left the Knights to enjoy their fourth outright win of the competition by a margin of 134 runs.

Canterbury had all the hard work in front of them after resuming this morning on 204 for six, chasing a distant 503, and while Henry Nicholls and Matt Henry delayed the inevitable former New Zealand captain Vettori presented too much of a challenge.

Nicholls, a 20-year-old left-hander in just his fifth first-class match, was denied a maiden century when he was left stranded on 93 not out after striking eight fours and two sixes in 216 minutes.

He and Henry, who made a rapid 51 with eight boundaries before being bowled by Vettori, shared an eighth wicket partnership of 76 but the damage had already been done by a Knights side who extended their lead atop the standings through six rounds.

Vettori was given plenty of work and the 33-year-old responded to claim the 31st five-wicket bag of his long career and his fifth for Northern Districts.

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