State Otago Volts’ lower order held on for a draw and denied State Northern Knights a crucial victory at Seddon Park, Hamilton.
The Knights claimed a first-innings win only after Otago stood at 198 for nine with two overs remaining when bad light ended the contest.
ND found Otago all-rounder Brad Scott proved impossible to remove, the left-hander handing on for a not out 29 from 105 balls in almost one-and-a-half hours.
Otago had little chance of reaching their winning target after Graeme Aldridge claimed three wickets, and Brent Arnel and Tim Southee grab two apiece.
The top-ranked Knights must now travel to Wellington to take on the Firebirds, who also require a victory to secure a second successive home final and maintain an impressive run of finals appearances.