Auckland won today but not well enough to reach the final of the State Twenty20 cricket competition on Sunday.
They beat leaders Central Districts by three wickets at New Plymouth's Pukerua Park to level on points (12) with Central, Northern Districts and Canterbury but their net run rate was third best – behind Central and Northern.
Central and Northern will meet in the final at Pukerua Park on Sunday.
Auckland won the toss today and sent Central in, then restricted them to 180 for eight in the 20 overs with Kyle Mills taking three for 32.
Most of the Central batsmen got started but couldn't press on, with Brendon Diamanti scoring 31 not out, Ross Taylor 27, Jacob Oram 26 and Greg Hay 23 after Jamie How (20) and Geoff Barnett (18) provided a sound start.
In reply, Auckland, led by Lou Vincent's 58 from 22 balls and Martin Guptill's 55 from 18, easily reached their target in just 16.3 overs.
Paul Hitchcock (20) and Guptill had given them a bright start with a partnership of 32 for the first wicket before Vincent came on and set up their victory with a slashing innings that included seven fours and two sixes.