A superb last over from Tim Southee secured a five run win for the Northern Knights over the Auckland Aces at Blake Park, Mt Maunganui.
The Aces required 11 to win but Southee delivered six near perfect Yorkers as the visitors made 159 in reply the Northern’s 164.
Captain Gareth Hopkins got Auckland into a winning position with a cracking 50 off 33 to give his team a fighting chance but when his wicket fell off the final ball of the penultimate over the momentum swung back the Knight’s way.
Opener Martin Guptill was in good touch hitting 37 early on but a mix up with Ravi Bopara saw him run out for 37.
Spinner Bruce Martin was the pick of the Northern bowling attack, dominating the middle overs with tidy figures of two for 22.
Earlier, Daniel Vettori trashed 43 from 22 for the Knights after being promoted to opener in an first wicket stand with BJ Watling of 61 from 6.3 overs.
Watling went on the get 73 off 59 before being dismissed of the second to last ball of the innings. He hit six boundaries and one six in his highest Twenty20 score.
Auckand seamer Daryl Tuffey was the bowler who halted the charge, taking two for 22 in his four overs, while spinner Ronnie Hira finished with two for 23.
The Northern Knights take on the Otago Volts tomorrow at the same venue with the Auckland Aces hosting the Canterbury Wizards on Monday.