Northern Districts shot to the top of the national one-day cricket competition with a low-scoring three-wicket win over Wellington at the Basin Reserve today.
The Knights had some wobbles but chased down the Firebirds' paltry total of 154 with 33 balls to spare when Ish Sodhi hit the winning runs, lofting Jeetan Patel's spin to the midwicket boundary.
It was the Knights' third win from four matches and moved them to the top of the ladder at the halfway point of the eight-round competition.
The Firebirds, meanwhile, have just one win from four matches after suffering their second dire batting collapse.
Daryl Mitchell anchored the visitors' chase today with 52 before he was one of paceman Mark Gillespie's four victims.
Gillespie was outstanding, taking 4-22 in his 10-over allotment, but the hosts were always struggling with so few runs on the board.
Both sides were missing their regular skippers, with Daniel Flynn (groin) and James Franklin (back spasms) ruled out.
Northern's stand-in captain, BJ Watling, bowled first on winning the toss. It was the same strip that produced more than 600 runs against Otago on Sunday.
Wellington's innings never got going against some accurate ND bowling, with Scott Kuggeleijn, Graeme Aldridge and spin duo Sodhi and Jono Boult each taking two wickets. Henry Walsh topscored with 31 before he was run out.
S Murdoch c Santner b Kuggeleijn 6
M Papps c Santner b Aldridge 13
G Elliott c Watling b Kuggeleijn 2
M Pollard b Verma 21
H Walsh run out 31
L Woodcock c Kuggeleijn b Sodhi 9
M Taylor c Mitchell b Boult 23
J Patel c Watling b Sodhi 5
M Gillespie c Carter b Boult 0
A McKay not out 20
B Arnel c Hampton b Aldridge 5
Extras (b 4, lb 3, wd 12) 19 Total (44.2 overs) 154 Fall: 8, 24, 37, 66, 96, 97, 120, 125, 130, 154.
Bowling: S Kuggeleijn 9-0-39-2 (2w), G Aldridge 8.2-0-34-2 (4w), B Hampton 5-1-17-0 (2w), A Verma 5-0-16-1 (2w), I Sodhi 10-1-26-2 (2w), J Boult 7-2-15-2.
M Santner lbw b Gillespie 0
J Carter b Gillespie 11
D Mitchell c Papps b Gillespie 52
B Watling c Walsh b Gillespie 5
J Hickey c Papps b McKay 9
B Hampton c sub (Younghusband) b Elliott 16
S Kuggeleijn not out 27
J Boult b McKay 20
I Sodhi not out 11
Extras (lb 2, wd 5) 7 Total (for 7 wickets, 44.3 overs) 158 Fall: 6, 22, 34, 45, 83, 114, 143.
Bowling: B Arnel 10-0-36-0 (1w), M Gillespie 10-1-22-4 (1w), A McKay 8-1-49-2 (3w), G Elliott 5-1-19-1, J Patel 8.3-1-20-0, L Woodcock 3-0-10-0.
Result: ND won by 3 wickets.
Should the NZ selectors pick Jesse Ryder if he's available?