One trophy in the cabinet, beaten finalists in another final last weekend, now Auckland set out in pursuit of the third domestic crown in Dunedin today.

The Plunket Shield resumes with the fifth round today after a 2-month break for one-day competitions.

Auckland sit second, 12 points behind Northern Districts and will want to keep tabs on the leaders, who host Central Districts in Gisborne.

Auckland are without a host of leading players, because of national team and overseas commitments, but coach Paul Strang is optimistic.


"We showed in the Ford Trophy that we've got a lot of guys who can step up and there's still a lot of experience in the squad when you look at guys like Gareth Hopkins, Chris Martin and Tim McIntosh," Strang said.

Otago have dumped Aaron Redmond as captain, with Derek de Boorder taking over.

ND have internationals Dan Vettori, BJ Watling and Trent Boult back, while CD have signed Zimbabwe seamer Kyle Jarvis for the remainder of the shield season. In the other game, bottom-placed Canterbury host Wellington at Rangiora.

Points after four rounds: ND 46, Auckland 34, CD 30, Wellington 29, Otago 25, Canterbury 21.


University Oval, from 10.30am today

Otago: Derek de Boorder (c), Aaron Redmond, Michael Bracewell, Craig Cumming, Neil Broom, Darren Broom, Sam Wells, Jimmy Neesham, Neil Wagner, Ian Butler, Warren McSkimming, Nick Beard.

Auckland: Gareth Hopkins (c), Brad Cachopa, Tim McIntosh, Jeet Raval, Neal Parlane, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Bruce Martin, Bhupinder Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Dean Bartlett, Chris Martin.