Black Caps Day Specialist Colin Munro provided the pyrotechnics in the last round of the Ford Trophy.
The left-wing scorer made an exciting century when Auckland hit home over the northern districts in the penultimate round of the day's national competition while Otago closed the gap at the top of the table in Wellington.
Northern Districts v Auckland Aces, Lincoln
Black Caps Day Specialist Colin Munro proved to be a handy pick-up for the Aces.
Unwanted by the Black Caps test team against Pakistan after the Twenty20 and ODI games in the United Arab Emirates, Munro destroyed ND bowling as Auckland won by five wickets in the DLS method to move up to the playoff.
The southpaw hit seven six and 17 fours while he made 143 only 93 balls opening the turn. It has reached its ton of only 65 balls – one of the fastest centuries in the history of the Trophy.
Scott Kuggeleijn, who had already done many laps, gave the ND inning the rush he needed, as he made 75 not just 57 batted balls at number 8.
Kuggeleijn came to the kink with Northern fighting for 141-6 on 31 and provoked a rear recovery.
He blew out six six and two fives while ND made 275-8 in his 50 overs.
Striking wicketkeeper Peter Bocock scored 51 with 62 and he and Kuggeleijn put 57 for the seventh wicket before Joe Walker's fast 24 (17-ball, three-and-four-six) set what appeared to be a tested target that was reduced by a rain pause.
ND 275-8 (S Kuggeleijn 75no, P Bockock 51; R Hira 3-62) lost to Auckland 246-5 at 36.1 overs (C Munro 143) by five wickets under the DLS method.
Canterbury v Otago Volts, Hagley Oval
Otago's pace rider Jacob Duffy got the better of his career by 6-35 when the Volts had a four-point win over Canterbury.
The 24-year-old striker struck out after the hosts won the fight and chose to beat and shared the individual honors for the winners with veteran Brad Wilson.
Wilson made 126 out of 140 balls to anchor the pursuit of Otago and a fast 37 of Michael Rippon helped the Volts to get home with four wickets and two balls to spare.
Earlier, point guard Chad Bowes organized the hosts for a large number, making his first-century a highly productive day's campaign.
Bowes was 11-and-6, making 104 of 117 balls before being the sixth wicket to fall.
He received support in all middle order, such as Stephen Murdoch (31, 45), Cole McConchie (42, 55) and Wicketkeeper batter Cam Fletcher (47 not out of 37 with three fours and two six) before Canterbury be fired. 270 off the last ball of his 50 overs.
Canterbury 270 (C Bowes 104, McConchie 42, C Fletcher 47no; J Duffy 6-35) lost to Otago 271-6 in 49.4 overs (B Wilson 126, M Renwick 41, M Rippon 37) by four wickets.
Central Stags v Wellington Firebirds, Lincoln
Competition leaders lost a rain-affected game to the Stags, as opening player Jacob Bhula lost for a long time early in the century.
Bhula was sent off by 99 when the Firebirds chased 280 for the win, with the DLS method again coming into play, with Central seven rushing ahead when the rain returned and decided the outcome.
Opening player Greg Hay (83) and middleweight bat Tom Bruce (87) provided most of the races while the Stags were compiling 279 before being eliminated in the last of their 50 overs.
Hay picked up 104 balls and hit nine fours, while Bruce recorded 10 fours and six of 90 deliveries. They were assisted by Willem Ludick, the young man who made the record books for the wrong reason when he awarded 43 of one of his bowls against the Northern Districts earlier this month.
Ludick hit two sixes and two fours in his 46 off 44 balls, while Ben Wheeler also got a move with 27 of 15 balls in No. 7.
Jimmy Neesham, one of the stars of the Trophy this season, suffered some punishment but captured 3-44 of 5.2 overs.
Andrew Fletcher's blockbuster campaign, Andrew Fletcher's field-opening rookie, continued with 59 goals, taking his season to 610 races, averaging 76.25.
Central districts 279 (T Bruce 87, G Hay 83, Ludick W 46; J Neesham 3-44) defeated Wellington by 188-4 with 39.4 overs (JBhula 99, A Fletcher 59) for seven races under the DLS method .
Ford Trophy Positions (after 9 of 10 rounds): Wellington Firebirds 27 points, Otago Volts 26, Auckland Aces 21, Northern Districts 16, Central Stags 13, Canterbury 9.