Auckland 146 for 4 (Cachopa* 79) beat Northern Knights 140 (O'Brien 52, Bates 4-10) by six wickets
A Michael Bates hat-trick in the final over kept Northern Knights to 140 and Craig Cachopa's unbeaten 79 pushed Auckland to victory by six wickets in the second preliminary final of the Georgie Pie Super Smash.
Knights, who had lost the first preliminary final, opted to bat and led by a stand of 51 for the second wicket between Daniel Flynn and Kevin O'Brien. Flynn fell in the ninth over for 25 before O'Brien steered them past 100 with a 25-ball 52.
However, the middle and lower order though could not capitalise. O'Brien fell in the 13th over and only two more batsmen reached double-figures. Michael Bates took 4 for 10, his best T20 figures, in only 2.3 overs and off those last three balls he dismissed Scott Kuggeleijn, Jono Boult and Ish Sodhi. Knights lost their last seven wickets for 39 runs to be wrapped up for 140. Rob Nicol and legspinner Tarun Nethula picked up two wickets each.
Auckland lost opener Luke Wright for a duck in the first over which was followed by a 47-run stand between Nicol and Cachopa. Nicol was stumped for 19 and Cachopa, who scored his highest score in T20s, took charge of the innings with Colin Munro for support and set up a clash with Wellington in the final in Hamilton on Sunday.