Auckland 208 for 8 (Chapman 64, Curran 50) beat Wellington 206 for 7 (Ronchi 102, Nethula 3-27) by two wickets
Luke Ronchi marked his return to the Wellington side by smashing 102 off 46 balls in a losing cause against Auckland in their Super Smash encounter at the Eden Park Outer Oval. Ronchi zoomed to his century in 45 balls – tying Jamie How for the second-fastest ton in New Zealand’s domestic history – just a week after Northern Districts batsman Tim Seifert ran up a century in 40 balls to set a new record for the fastest hundred by a batsman in New Zealand.
Opening the batting, Ronchi, who retired from international cricket in June, launched seven sixes and nine fours. By the time his onslaught finally ended, at the hands of offspinner Teja Nidamanuru, Ronchi had slapped 102 of the 129 runs his team had made. It was his first T20 century.
Wellington’s surge, however, suffered in the later overs due to the loss of frequent wickets. They still ended up with 206 for 7, but it proved insufficient. Legspinner Tarun Nethula finished with 3 for 27.
Mark Chapman set the tone early with 64 off 24 balls to help Auckland recover from 7 for 1. Chapman took Auckland past the 100 mark inside nine overs before a run-out ended the carnage. From there, Auckland rapidly slid, moving from 102 for 2 to 127 for 7. It took a 27-ball 50 from Sam Curran to resurrect the chase.
Curran fell with Auckland 14 runs away from the target. But Tarun Nethula’s handy cameo at No. 9 took them closer and set up a thrilling finish. With seven required off the last two balls, Nethula dispatched medium-pacer Ian McPeake for successive fours to seal a last-ball finish and settle the contest.