Auckland lineup make run chase look easy

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
Rob Nicol
KIRK HARGREAVES/ Fairfax NZ
READY TO ROLL: Rob Nicol could be key for the Wizards.

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Canterbury are already battling in the eight-round domestic one-day cricket competition after being completely outplayed by Auckland in their first-round clash at Hagley Oval.

Auckland bowled and batted far better yesterday while Canterbury underestimated just how good groundsman Rupert Bool's wicket was.

While runs were being scored by the bucketload at other venues, including a New Zealand domestic record successful chase of 352-4 by Wellington to beat Otago, Canterbury paid the price for a slow start.

Peter Fulton continued his rich vein of form which has earned the 34-year-old a test callup with 74 while Rob Nicol celebrated his return from personal leave with 68. But even a blazing 27-ball 49 by Andrew Ellis only helped the Wizards through to 269-9.

Most thought that was at least competitive, if not a match-winning total. Until Auckland batted.

The visitors had earlier bowled better and swung the ball more, with Michael Bates taking 4-45.

Fulton won the toss for Canterbury and, on the same wicket used when the teams met last week in the Plunket Shield, assumed it would get harder to bat on so they batted first.

But the new Hagley deck kept its bounce and pace - though it did lack consistency - and Auckland's batsmen were dominant.

They scored more freely and found singles easier than their Canterbury counterparts.

Tim McIntosh anchored the top of the Auckland innings, scoring 72 before he trod on his own stumps, but the real hero of Auckland's chase was Craig Cachopa.

After a season with Wellington last year, Cachopa was playing his first 50-over match for Auckland. His brilliant 121 was the perfect debut, beating his previous best score at this level by 101.

He faced just 101 balls, hitting 19 boundaries and a solitary six to bring up his hundred. He was bowled by Matt McEwan on 115, but called back after batting partner Colin de Grandhomme (34no) pointed out to the umpires Canterbury had five fielders outside the 30m circle - one more than the new laws permit.

Cachopa was eventually dismissed for 121, just before Auckland reached their target with two overs and five wickets to spare.

While Canterbury struggled, former Cantabrians cashed in at the Basin Reserve. Michael Papps celebrated his 100th domestic one-day game with his highest score, 162no, to help Wellington complete the highest successful run chase in domestic one-day cricket.

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Set 350 to win after Aaron Redmond scored 114 from 84 for Otago, Wellington reached their target with eight balls spare thanks to Papps and Stephen Murdoch (136) who added a record 273 runs.

Northern Districts scored 322-7 in Nelson with Daryl Mitchell and James Marshall scoring 95 and 93 respectively before rolling CD for just 238 in 38.3 overs despite Ross Taylor scoring 75.

Canterbury play next, at Hagley Oval again, tomorrow against Otago.

- The Press

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