Aaron Finch hit an unbeaten 93 as the Victoria Bushrangers gained their first Champions League Twenty20 win, beating the Central Stags by seven wickets on Wednesday.
Finch held his nerve in a tense finish, hitting Doug Bracewell for six off the fourth ball of the final over, after the Australian side found themselves needing 48 off the last four overs.
Finch found a solid partner in Andrew McDonald, who hit 18 not out in an unbeaten stand of 66.
“We nearly left it a bit too late, but we got over the line,” said Finch, who made his runs off 60 balls with 11 fours and three sixes.
Stags captain Jamie How earlier hit an unbeaten 77 off 55 balls as the New Zealand team reached 165 for five in their 20 overs.
The Stags made a poor start, with Victoria fast bowler Peter Siddle taking two wickets in the first over.
At the halfway stage they had laboured to 48 for three.
But the tournament pattern of teams struggling against the new ball and then scoring freely later in the innings continued.
How and George Worker (29) put on 53 in 48 balls for the fourth wicket before Brendon Diaminti helped How add 66 off 29 balls for the fifth wicket, which included 28 runs off the18th over, bowled by John Hastings.
Finch played a fine innings but made a lucky start. He was caught off a no-ball bowled by Bracewell before he had scored and was dropped on 43 when he hit a hard return chance to left-arm slow bowler Worker. It was one of three catches put down by the Stags.
How said his side’s fielding was a disappointment.
“We had a few dropped catches and a few misfields and you can’t afford to do that against a quality side like Victoria,” he explained.