Northern Districts came back from the edge of defeat to beat Auckland by two runs with 10 balls left in the first one-day game of the season at Colin Maiden Park yesterday.
Auckland seemed to be cruising when they needed 42 off the last 10 overs with five wickets in hand to pass Northern's 212.
The breakthrough came when Anaru Kitchen, who had ground out a controlled 58 off 104 balls, uncharacteristically lashed out at Graeme Aldridge and was caught in the deep.
Leftarm medium-pacer Brad Scott accounted for Ronnie Hira and Daryl Tuffey but Auckland needed only 10 from three overs when Andre Adams came to the wicket to join Kyle Mills.
He tried for six on his first ball but failed against Trent Boult and nine were needed off 16 balls. Mills narrowed the margin to three but Scott climaxed his impressive closing spell by having last-man Michael Bates caught behind to clinch the win.
Mills was left 44 not out and wondering how Auckland could have lost a game they had in their grasp for much of the afternoon.
They won the toss and put Northern into bat, a decision which looked dubious when the visitors reached 57 before BJ Watling was caught for 26.
Bates then took a hand with a two-wicket maiden to dismiss Michael Parlane and Scott Styris and Adams had Daniel Flynn caught at the wicket for 40 from 41 balls with seven fours.
Captain James Marshall went for a duck and Northern became becalmed with 17 overs without a boundary. The unlikely batting hero was Aldridge, who scored a personal one-day best of 47 off 50 balls with five fours and a six.
Best of the Auckland bowlers yet again was Bates, who finished with five for 36 off nine overs. Even if the wicket had made timing difficult, Northern's 212 did not look a tough target.
The openers were gone with 41 on the board but Gareth Hopkins and Kitchen added 70 runs off 98 balls and Colin de Grandhomme contributed a brisk 29 to have Auckland well up with the required run rate with wickets in hand. But in the finish they lost their way and ND snatched the unlikely win.