State Northern Knights rookie Tim Southee struck a rapid maiden first-class 50 to lead his side to first place in the State Championship league table and home advantage in the final.
The New Zealand Under-19 international bowler hit seven fours and five sixes for an unbeaten 75 from just 48 balls to ensure first-innings points for the leaders from a draw against State Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve.
Peter McGlashan (63) and Nick Horsley (57) pushed the Knights to their first-innings target of 314 after a rain-affected final match in the capital.
McGlashan and Horsley’s century stand helped the visitors move away from a rocky start, having fallen to 82 for five.
Both batsmen were dismissed in quick succession, but Southee brought his side back into contention once again, supported by fellow tail ender Graeme Aldridge (25 not out) in an unbroken century stand.
New Zealand Under-19 bowler Southee brought up his 50 in just 37 balls to lead ND to clinch a home final.
Wellington were denied a fourth successive place in the final after State Canterbury Wizards claimed first innings points at Napier against outgoing champions State Central Stags.