Canterbury Kings 184-5 in 20 overs (Stephen Murdoch 54, Chad Bowes 42) lost to the Otago Volts (Hamish Rutherford 54, Anaru Kitchen 44) by five wickets at University Oval, Dunedin.
Momentum roller-coasted from one team to the other throughout this match, but in the end the Kings couldn't contain the Volts batsmen's controlled chase, and were left ruing the chance to put more runs on the board.
After Andrew Ellis went early for 11 going for the big shot, Steve Murdoch came in and dominated, forming a valuable partnership with Chad Bowes, until the latter was bowled from the first ball of Christi Viljoen's spell for 42.
The Kings looked well placed on 102-2 in the 12th, but Bowes' wicket sparked a mini-collapse, as Cole McConchie, Leo Carter and Murdoch all went while adding only 25 runs.
Murdoch's classy innings, which included two huge back to back sixes over mid wicket, came to an ignominious end when he took on Neil Broom's arm in the deep running for two, and came up well short of his ground, and was run out for 54 from 33.
Kyle Jamieson (33) and Cameron Fletcher (22) contributed 55 for the sixth wicket, with Jamieson swinging freely and taking boundaries everywhere. The pair got their side through to 184-5, which looked slightly light when a total over 200 was on the cards earlier in the day.
In reply, Broom was dropped on nine by the keeper Fletcher, which cost the Kings - he and Hamish Rutherford added 81 runs for the first wicket, with the two experienced men putting on a show for the University Oval crowd - it wasn't until the Kings spinners joined the attack that the brakes went on.
On 32, Broom came down the wicket to Jeremy Benton, missed and turned to see his middle stump go back. Rutherford went for 54 to a screaming Andrew Ellis catch at long on From McConchie's bowling, and suddenly there were two new men in the middle.
Shawn Hicks showed no fear, striking some huge blows to get the run rate needed down under eight with just a handful of overs to go until on 31, Hicks hit Jamieson miles in the air and Fletcher took it with the gloves behind the stumps, before Anaru Kitchen followed for 44, caught by McConchie to set up a tense finish.
Ellis used all his variations in the 19th over to turn the screws and the Volts went into the last needing ten - but Edward Nuttall wasn't able to contain Josh Finnie, who finished the job in the long shadows.