It wasn't either super or smashing, in terms of the batting on display, but the Central Stags will take it after claiming the Super Smash Twenty20 title today to avoid a runners-up placing for a third straight year.

In a match containing 16 past or present New Zealand internationals it was one of the minority without a black cap that proved to be the factor with Central batsman Dean Foxcroft the only player to score more than 18 in a low-scoring final.

Foxcroft made 63 from 50 balls as Central stuttered to 147 for eight, at one point looking unlikely to bat out their allotted 20 overs. But somehow it was easily more than enough with the hosts bowled out for just 80 to see the Stags win by 67 runs.

In last year's final Central struggled to make just 99 for eight from their 20 overs as Northern cruised to a nine-wicket win. Bowling the hosts out for the lowest score recorded in a domestic T20 final and the Knights' second lowest in their history no doubt made up for it.


At the midway point it seemed like last year, Central hadn't done enough batting first. It wasn't exactly a carbon copy with some lower order hitting rescuing a disappointing showing from their recognised batsmen. If it wasn't for Foxcroft's 63, it would have been much worse.

Northern were stacked with a plethora of Black Caps but it was a former South African international who struck early with fast bowler Kyle Abbott (2-29) removing both Central openers in his first two overs. Will Young, coming off a match-winning 83 in the preliminary final, was caught behind for a two-ball duck in the second over and was joined by George Worker (13 from 15) two overs later when he also played a wild shot that resulted in an edge through to Tim Seifert.

The Central wickets and Seifert catches continued at regular intervals when the Black Caps spin duo of Ish Sodhi (2-30) and Mitchell Santner (2-23) were introduced and tore through the Stags' middle order.

The last thing you want to worry about in a Twenty20 match, especially a final, is failing to bat out your allotted overs but it looked a possibility with Central struggling at 120 for eight and 15 balls remaining. Adam Milne and Ajaz Patel saw them through to 147 for eight to at least give them hope with the pitch expected to get lower and slower as the game went on.

It seemed stacked in Northern's favour. Just under seven and a half an over needed to secure a third title with plenty of experience to fall back on. But it was a complete no-show from the Knights at the crease.

Milne (3-12), Patel (3-24) and Doug Bracewell (2-10) did the damage as Northern were bowled out with more than five overs remaining.