Northern Knights 158-7 (Dean Brownlie 57, Daryl Mitchell 24, Colin de Grandhomme 2-22, Mitchell McClenaghan 2-29) beat Auckland Aces 147-5 (Martin Guptill 27, Anurag Verma 1-15) by 11 runs at Eden Park, Auckland.
The Northern Knights are on track to qualify for the Georgie Pie Super Smash finals with a win over the Mondiale Auckland Aces at Eden Park, defending a total that seemed below par on paper thanks to tight bowling and regular wickets.
Batting first, the Knights Anton Devcich went first in controversial fashion, caught at mid on for six from Mitchell McClenaghan, after claiming to be distracted by a towel falling from the bowler's pants in his delivery stride.
Dean Brownlie arrived to play the anchor role for the Knights, striking a series of boundaries including three sixes and five fours. He received some support from Daniel Flynn (15), Travis Birt (21) and Daryl Mitchell (24), who all looked good making starts but were unable to push on to help make the most of the great start.
Mitchell Santner was not out 17 from 13 at the end of the innings, scoring what would prove to be valuable runs. McClenaghan, Kyle Mills and de Grandhomme were all economical for the Aces, with McClenaghan picking up Brownlie at a crucial time.
In reply, the experiment of pushing Colin Munro up the order failed immediately as he was caught for a duck from the second ball he faced coming down the pitch to Scott Kuggeleijn. Martin Guptill showed that he was playing his way back into form with 27 from 21, but he fell to Anurag Verma's first ball, playing on going for a big shot.
Verma was a key bowler through the middle stages, going for only 15 runs from his four overs. The Aces looked to score from the Knights spinners, with Santner and Boult taking some punishment, but they always felt slightly behind the eight ball.
The Aces needed 54 from the last five overs but some effective death bowling from the Knights meant they never looked likely. They needed 23 from the last but didn't get the boundaries they needed, finishing on 147-5 and ending their home stint without a win.