The Central Stags kept their hopes of reaching the HRV Twenty20 Cup Final alive thanks to a 29 run victory over the Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
Stags skipper Jamie How took control of the game thanks to a superb inning of 96 which came from just 42 deliveries and included 9 fours and 6 sixes as he helped the visitors reach 192-8.
George Worker (28) offered the only support on a day when the Stags top order failed to follow in their skippers footsteps with Peter Ingram (6), Kieran Noema-Barnett (7) and Jacob Oram (11) all falling cheaply.
Faced with a challenging run chase the Firebirds got off to a good start thanks to Luke Wright (24) and Michael Pollard (23) who shared an opening stand of 38 before Wright was dismissed by Michael Mason in the 4th over.
With the opening stand broken Ian Bracewell (3-19) struck three times to remove Neal Parlen (11), Stewart Rhodes (14) and Breet Lee (15) to help derail the run chase as the home side fell 29 runs short of victory.
The result now means the defending champions go into the final round of games on Wednesday knowing victory against the Auckland Aces will secure them a place in the HRV Twenty20 Cup Final after their nearest challenges, the Northern Knights lost against the Aces at Blake Park.