Kane Williamson hit 81 and shared a second wicket partnership of 119 runs with Hamish Marshall to help the Northern Knights secure a three wicket win over the Auckland Aces at Cobham Oval in Whangarei.
After bowing the Aces out for 239 the Knights reached the 240 for seven in 48.1 overs.
The win vaults the Knights into second spot on the points table and sees them play first placed Aces in the first preliminary final on Saturday. The winner goes straight through to the final with the loser getting another opportunity against the winner of the second preliminary final.
Williamson, who has led the Men’s One-Day MVP for the last few rounds, turned it on again today with a classy innings that provided the backbone of the Knights run chase. He only hit five boundaries and used 139 balls but the big hitting was coming from the other end.
Hamish Marshall was in a belligerent mood, blasting 66 off 52 including seven boundaries and a six.
Some middle order jitters saw them tumble to 217 for seven but Bradley Scott struck an unbeaten 17 to seal the win.
Earlier, the Aces made a bright start with openers Reece Young (32) and Tim McIntosh (22) putting on 58 for the first wicket.
Ravi Bopara continued on but lacked support from the middle and lower order. The English import fell in the final over after hitting a polished 89 off 92 deliveries.
Northern Left-armer Scott was the best of the bowling attack taking three for 43 with Joseph Yovich picking up three for 50.