A blazing 78 off 60 balls from Rob Nicol helped Auckland confirm their place in New Zealand's inaugural Twenty20 cricket final.
A blazing 78 off 60 balls from Rob Nicol helped Auckland confirm their place in New Zealand's inaugural Twenty20 cricket final with a thrilling five-wicket win over Wellington at Eden Park in Auckland today.
Nicol cracked Wellington allrounder Jesse Ryder through cover for four off the final ball to help Auckland overhaul the visitors' total of 153 for seven off their 20 overs.
Despite struggling at the bottom of the State Shield ladder, this was Auckland's second win from two Twenty20 matches this season and booked them a final against Canterbury on Sunday.
Not renowned for his big hitting, Nicol's late innings assault included huge sixes off Mark Gillespie and Ryder in the 19th and 20th overs.
They needed 11 off the final over, but Ryder's first ball went for six and just one was needed off the final two balls.
Ryder bowled a dot ball to lift the tension but Nicol did the job off the final ball.
English professional Charlie Shreck did the early damage for Wellington, ending with excellent figures of two for 16 off four overs, including one maiden.
Wellington were restricted by tight Auckland bowling, with international Chris Martin taking one for 21 off four overs.
Neal Parlane hit 38 off 25 balls to topscore for the visitors.