State Otago Volts claimed State Shield final hosting rights with an 18-run win over State Wellington Firebirds at Invercargill’s Queen’s Park Oval.
Otago’s victory, earned by defending 230 with four balls to spare, put them out of reach of State Auckland Aces by virtue of number of wins.
The hosts, who were inserted by Wellington, began slowly, losing two quick wickets to Scott Rasmussen.
Craig Cumming (40) and Neil Broom (29) put on 76 for the third wicket, before the visiting attack claimed four more scalps for 20 runs in an eight-over, mid-innings spell.
Gareth Hopkins (47), Nathan McCullum (31) and Brad Scott (35) helped boost the total as Otago batted through their 50 overs with a wicket in hand.
Otago had Wellington at 42 for four and 100/6 before Stu Mills (60) and Luke Woodcock (47) put on a determined 107.
But Scott completed a good double by removing both dangermen in consecutive deliveries, with wickets in the final two overs deciding matters.
Otago took top spot from Wellington with the triumph, and will host the 50-over final.
A State Central Stags victory over Auckland at Eden Park would give the Firebirds home advantage in the semi-final.
Even a bonus-point win would leave the Aces in second place, as they would have won six games, compared to Otago's seven.