Central Districts captain Jamie How destroyed Wellington's hopes of domestic Twenty20 honours with a superb 96 at the Basin Reserve today.
Central Stags piled on 192 for eight from their 20 overs after losing the toss, and Wellington Firebirds struggled to 163 for six to fall well short in reply in the HRV Cup.
The win moved Central into second place, six points behind competition front-runners Auckland Aces with only one round to play before the final on January 2.
Although Harry Boam picked up the early wicket of Peter Ingram for six, How let loose to put on 91 for the second wicket with George Worker.
The Central skipper pounded 96 off 42 balls, nine fours and six sixes to all points of the ground putting the Wellington bowlers under real pressure.
Once How fell -- caught by Neil Parlane off Jeetan Patel in the 11th over with the score on 124 -- Central Districts' pace slowed but they still managed to set an intimidating total.
Worker went for 28 with the score on 139 early in the 12th over, and was followed four balls later by Kieran Noema-Barnett, trapped in front by Patel for seven.
That brought Jacob Oram to the wicket, back after nearly four months out following knee surgery, and he showed a tantalising glimpse of form with a well-struck six before being run out for 11 off seven balls.
Patel was the best of the Wellington bowlers, finishing with 4-27 off his four overs.
Openers Luke Wright and Michael Pollard
gave Wellington a bright start, putting on 38 in four overs for the first wicket.
But Michael Mason accounted for Wright for 24, then Oram cleaned out Pollard for 23 as the sixth over drew to a close.
With English left-arm spinner Ian Blackwell in particularly miserly form -- he finished with 3-19 off four overs -- Wellington never really looked capable of threatening Central's target.