Cricket: Blackcaps all-rounder Mitchell Santner smashes winning six for Northern Knights over Auckland

Blackcaps all-rounder Mitchell Santner has emerged as the matchwinning hero, as a host of internationals stars returned to the Super Smash domestic T20 competition on Eden Park's Outer Oval. 

As the contest came down to the wire, Santner hit a six off the penultimate ball to seal victory for Northern Knights over Auckland Aces, keeping alive their finals hopes. 

With 12 current or former Blackcaps on display, the encounter was as timely form guide during a summer that has seen New Zealand dominate West Indies and Pakistan in limited-overs and test formats. 

After Northern won the toss and elected to field, Scott Kuggeleijn - who had figures of 2/30 from his three overs - had the big wicket of Martin Guptil in just the second over to continue the opener's worrying run of form.

International teammates combined in stunning fashion to dismiss Sean Solia not long after, with Trent Boult making a leaping one-handed deflection on the boundary, flicking the ball to Tim Southee, who completed the stunning relay catch.

Swashbuckling Glenn Phillips produced the innings of the day, smashing the star-studded Knights bowling attack to all parts of the ground for a blistering 68 off 33 balls, including eight sixes.

He was left an agitated figure when he was given out - caught by wicketkeeper Tim Seifert, off Kuggeleijn's bowling - by third umpire Billy Bowden.

Phillips clearly felt he hadn’t hit it and the original decision was not out, before it was sent upstairs - he was furious as he stormed off.

The Aces got a flurry of late runs, including 18 off 14 balls from Kyle Jamieson, who smashed a massive six off Boult that sent the ball out of the ground. 

Auckland scored 140 from their 14 overs in a rain-affected match. 

The Duckworth Lewis Stern System set the Knights 107 runs in just 10 overs, and they made a torrid start with Blackcaps Tim Seifert - 14 off 7 balls - and Colin De Grandhomme - 12 off three balls - gone early. 

Santner, who has fast become the designated Blackcaps closer in these situations, arrived at the crease with the Knights 56/4, needing 51 off 28 balls, and guided his side home with a composed 39 from 16 balls to give his side a crucial victory. 

The Aces loss continues their sombre season and they remain winless through six matches, their faint finals hopes all but gone.