A superb captain's knock from Peter Fulton and some stubborn middle-order batting from allrounder Johann van der Wath gave Canterbury Wizards an unlikely shot at making Sunday's HRV Cup final.
Canterbury, equal with Northern Knights on 18 points going into today's game, powered to a 60-run win over Northern at Queen Elizabeth 2 Park in Christchurch.
As it transpired, second-placed Central Stags' eight-wicket win over table-toppers Auckland Aces rendered Canterbury's victory irrelevant.
The win meant Central moved into second on the table with 26 points behind Auckland's 28, and the two teams will meet again at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland on Sunday in the final.
Canterbury end the competition in third place with 22 points, but will take some heart from today's comprehensive win.
Put in to bat after losing the toss, Canterbury were looking shaky at 43 for two at the end of the sixth over.
But Peter Fulton's 64 off 36 and a late flurry from van der Wath, who struck four sixes in his 31 from 13, saw Canterbury through to 163 for five in their 20 overs.
In reply, Northern were skittled for 103 in 18 overs, never recovering from a poor start which saw openers Daniel Flynn and Brad Hodge removed in the space of three balls to be 11 for two early in the second over.
Richard Sherlock, who finished with figures of 3-28 off his four overs, then bowled an out-of-sorts Herschelle Gibbs without scoring in the third over and Northern's run chase was all but over.
Kane Williamson was the next to go for eight, mistiming a full toss from Ryan ten Doeschate, Andrew Ellis taking the catch at midwicket to leave Northern 25 for four midway through the fifth over.
The wickets continued to fall regularly, van der Wath particularly effective with 3-12 off four overs, BJ Watling's 20 the high score of the Northerns innings.