The Canterbury Kings will enter the Twenty20 Super Smash finals as the competition’s in-form team.
Canterbury finished round-robin play with their fourth consecutive victory, beating the Central Stags by 17 runs at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval on Sunday.
With the win, Canterbury booked their place in the top-three finals in New Plymouth next weekend, joining Otago, who finished top of the table, and second-placed Auckland.
Former Sri Lankan batting legend Mahela Jayawardena did all he could to lead the Stags home in their pursuit of 167, hitting 53, but he lacked support around him.
Opener George Worker was the only other Central batsman to score more than 20, which ultimately proved the difference between the teams.
The Kings fielded former Australian test stars Michael Hussey and Shane Watson in their line-up and the duo, who opened the innings, had contrasting experiences.
Watson had a five-ball duck, while Hussey was dismissed for 43, when he tried to accelerate the scoring in the middle stages.
Hussey and Watson will play for the Sydney Thunder in Australia’s T20 Big Bash this summer, which begins on December 17.
Canterbury Cricket boss Lee Germon said he planned to speak with the pair and the Thunder to assess their availability for the finals weekend.
They both played against the Kings on Friday night for the Thunder in the first match between a New Zealand Super Smash team and a Big Bash opponent.
Quote from – Canterbury Kings through to domestic T20 finals after win over Central Stags, Written by BRENDON EGAN, Last updated 18:42, December 6 2015.