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McCullum-Less Otago Settle For Third After Last-Ball Loss

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
McCullum-Less Otago Settle For Third After Last-Ball Loss

Wellington, Jan 25 NZPA - With Brendon McCullum plying his trade in Sydney, Otago today slumped to a last-ball defeat to Wellington and with it lost hosting rights for the State Shield one-day cricket semifinal.

Holding second place going into the final-round match at Invercargill's Queens Park, Otago were dismissed for 244 in the 49th over and Wellington reached 245 for nine off the final delivery.

James Franklin punched the ball through the inner ring off Neil Wagner to finish unbeaten on a matchwinning 87 and lifted Wellington past Auckland off the bottom of the table.

More importantly, Otago dropped to third and will now have to travel to Christchurch to face second-placed Canterbury on Wednesday.

The great unknown is whether the presence of New Zealand opener McCullum would have made a difference.

The world-class wicketkeepr was controversially released to play for New South Wales in the final of the Australian domestic Twenty20 competition in Sydney last night, where he contributed 10 runs.

Aaron Redmond took McCullum's place at the top of the order today, compiling a steady 46 off 59 balls.

However, the real impetus was provided by Neil Broom and Craig Cumming, who scored 77 and 54 respectively at good pace.

A big total loomed but the Otago lower order failed to push on, with Graham Napier, Franklin and New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel the pick of the visiting bowlers.

Franklin was a mixture of patience and power in his 98-ball innings, pacing the chase nicely as wickets fell around him.

Patel was the ninth wicket to fall, in the first ball of the final over bowled by pace man Neil Wagner with four runs still needed.

Franklin scampered two off the penultimate ball to tie the scores.

Even a tie would have been enough for Otago to remain in second place but they were denied by the experienced allrounder.

Wagner finished with four for 55 and Warren McSkimming three for 52 while BJ Crook earlier reached 52 off 52 balls.

NZPA WGT dg

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