Cricket: Auckland like full T20 draw

By David Leggat

Auckland hope the messy, uneven start to the domestic T20 competition can work to their advantage as they chase a third straight title.

They host Canterbury at Eden Park tonight in their second game of the HRV Cup. Their opening win over Wellington was on November 16 but their remaining nine round-robin fixtures are compressed neatly into a 26-day period, during which they're hoping to gather momentum.

"The draw has been kind to us, nine games back to back. It's important to get off to a good start. It gives you a bit of a buffer so you're not playing catch-up," captain Gareth Hopkins said.

Both Auckland imports, former England international Phil Mustard and Andre Adams, are in the 12 for this summer's first T20 meeting of last season's finalists.

Although Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Mitchell McClenaghan and Michael Bates are in South Africa on international duty, Hopkins is happy with the depth of the squad.

"Now it's just a matter of how we execute on the field," he said.

•An unbeaten 121 by test batsman Kane Williamson steered Northern Districts to a six-wicket win over Wellington in the capital yesterday.

Chasing 194, they reached 196 for four off 47.4 overs. Spare a thought for Wellington keeper Luke Ronchi, who took eight catches and scored two hundreds in the match.

Otago and Central Districts drew their rain-affected game in Dunedin, in which CD took first innings points.

- The Aucklander

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