How shines in Stags win

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Jamie How carried his bat for an unbeaten 78 as Central Stags cruised to a State Twenty20 victory over Wellington Firebirds.

The Stags were again dominant in the second win in three days, scoring a 62-run victory after their top order flourished.

How led the way with an unbroken stand of 109 with Greg Hay, who plundered 62 from just 30 balls at the Basin Reserve.

Geoff Barnett claimed 25 and Ross Taylor matched the 46 tallied at QEII Park 48 hours earlier as the Stags made 224 for three after How won the toss.

Brendon Diamanti also maintained his form with three wickets as the Firebirds were restricted to 162 for nine.

Scott Styris and Gareth Hopkins were at their best, but Auckland Aces had to hang on to repel a committed Northern Knights reply at Eden Park Outer Oval.

Styris notched 61 from 31 balls, smashing seven sixes, as Auckland brought up 190 for four batting first.

Martin Guptill made a run-a-ball 43, and Hopkins picked up the baton after both players were sent back in the pavilion.

The wicketkeeper-batsman scored four fours and four sixes to enhance the Aces' total.

An opening stand of 54 between Daniel Vettori (31) and Englishman Andrew Strauss (29) helped the Knights to a promising start.

But Mark Orchard retired hurt, and Bruce Martin and Tim Southee were run out in the final over to leave the Knights two short of Auckland's total at a cost of seven wickets.

Nathan McCullum top-scored with an unbeaten 42 but could not guide State Otago Volts to victory against Canterbury Wizards at Dunedin.

Otago fell two runs short of Canterbury's 130, despite the all-rounder's efforts.
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