Canterbury muscled their way to the top of the domestic one-day cricket competition standings with a six-wicket win over Northern Districts yesterday and they will see the same opponents again in the playoffs this weekend.
Canterbury's Ford Trophy victory at Hagley Oval ensured top spot at the expense of ND and the winner of their contest at the same venue on Sunday will go to next weekend's grand final.
Canterbury will be high on confidence after their final-round win was set up by seamer Ryan McCone, who took career-best figures of 6-19, as ND were bowled out for 119 with only two players making double figures. The home side then cantered to their target in the 27th over with Dean Brownlie unbeaten on 47.
Auckland and Wellington also got a good look at each other before their playoff showdown on Sunday.
They qualified third and fourth respectively, which means Auckland will host the Firebirds this weekend with the winner set to face the loser of the Canterbury versus ND encounter with a spot in the final on the line in another playoff game on Wednesday.
Yesterday, Auckland and Wellington fought out a thriller at the Basin Reserve in the capital as Auckland snagged a five-run win. After making 302-7 they defended their total as Wellington came up just short at 297-9.
Otago dealt Central Districts a comprehensive 106-run loss at the University Oval in Dunedin yesterday.
Otago batted first and made 233 on the back of 96 from only 69 balls from Jesse Ryder. Central Districts were rolled for only 127 and finished last.