The winless Devon Hotel Central Stags must be wondering when their luck will turn after being denied by the Auckland Aces in the first super over finish of the season.
The game, shortened to 16 overs per side by prematch rain, was a taut tussle throughout - the first of four home matches at Pukekura Park for the Stags.
The Aces were off to a shaky start, losing openers Chris Nash and Anaru Kitchen inside the first two overs. But when Jeet Raval loosened his arms against Tarun Nethula for consecutive midwicket sixes, the urgency kicked in and the visitors went on to hoist 15 'maximums' from their fast and furious innings.
Kieran Noema-Barnett came off second best against opposing skipper Gareth Hopkins, who conjured up four consecutive sixes to lodge the Aces' hundred in the 11th over. Stags spinner Marty Kain immediately struck back, removing both Craig Cachopa (31 off 28) and Hopkins (39 off 14) in a matter of balls, but the end of the bustling 57-run partnership was not the end of the Stags' pain.
The Aces' tail wagged with another barrage of sixes - James Fuller and Donovan Grobbelaar (37 off 13) blasting four from Peter Trego at the death and another two off Jacob Oram to sign off the innings on a competitive 159 for seven.
Needing ten an over, Peter Trego poured on early aggression with bat-bruising boundaries and three sixes, but with five wickets falling inside five overs - including a double wicket maiden to an impressive Fuller, the Stags looked up against it once again.
However, Oram (23 off 17) and Carl Cachopa (41 off 24) started a nerve-tingling comeback, culminating in a gutsy tail-end assault from Marty Kain (22* from 11, to complement a career-best 4-17 with the ball) and desperate last scramble from Tarun Nethula, who was judged to have been run out by a hair's breadth going for a second run when the scores were tied, after a rare fumble from keeper Hopkins.
Desperate for a win, the Stags then made a hash of their super over - two wickets falling and Noema-Barnett and Cachopa able to extract only six runs from Michael Bates. For the Aces Anaru Kitchen then took a two and a single off Oram's first two deliveries, before Colin de Grandhomme took two more and a six over fine leg to deliver a heartbreaking loss to the home side.
The Stags now face the Hell Wellington Firebirds at the same venue on New Year's Day while the Aces host the Volts on 3 January.
Otago Volts 16
Northern Knights 16
Auckland Aces 12
Wellington Firebirds 12
Canterbury Wizards 6
Central Stags 2