English import Graeme Napier hit 17 off six and took three for 22 to lead the Central Stags to a 19 run win over the Wellington Firebirds in the HRV Cup at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
Napier got rid of opener Paul Hitchcock for five, the in form Cameron Merchant for a duck and overseas international Owais Shah for 14 as the Firebirds tried to chase down the Stags formidable total of 208.
Central’s score was punctuated by four brisk knocks with openers Peter Ingram and Jamie How leading the way with a superb 70 from 59 and 37 from 19 respectively.
BLACKCAP batting star Ross Taylor then blasted 47 from 25 before Napier finished the innings off.
The boundaries were coming thick and fast with 17 fours and the rope cleared 12 times in the Central innings.
Spinner Luke Woodcock was the pick of the Firebirds attack with three for 36.
Neal Parlane got the run chase off to the best possible start, booming 69 off 39 but the rest of the top order failed to make an impression.
James Franklin came in at five and together with Parlane got the Firebirds into a strong position with a 73 run partnership.
He continued on with Woodcock as they shared a lively sixth wicket stand but when Franklin went for 47 off 35 the momentum swung back in favour of the home side.
Woodcock continued with some late hitting but couldn’t keep up with the climbing run rate and eventually fell for 25 off 15 in the final over.
Napier was the stand out bowler with Michael Mason picking up three late wickets to finish with three for 34.