Several Blackcaps were on display on a historic night at Christchurch's Hagley Park, as Central Stags proved too strong for the home side under lights.
Eight-thousand fans packed the picturesque venue - the first match played under lights there - but the Stags played spoilers with an 18-run win in the Super Smash clash.
Canterbury Kings started well with the ball, with test bowler Matt Henry snaring Dane Cleaver for a duck with a smart catch in the second over.
But fringe Blackcaps George Worker and Will Young combined for a second-wicket stand of 79 from 57 balls, with Young notching his half-century in style with a dismissive reverse sweep off Todd Astle.
But Henry returned to break the partnership in the 11th over, removing Worker for a run-a-ball 32.
Playing his first Super Smash game in four years, veteran international Ross Taylor came and went quickly (10), while Henry was in the action again late in the innings, running out Josh Clarkson (26).
In between, Young went for 68, but Doug Bracewell's quickfire 37 from 16 balls lifted the Stags to an imposing 186/5 in their 20 overs.
And the Blackcaps T20 all-rounder was quickly into action with ball in hand, removing Kings openers Chad Bowes and Ken McClure in the first over of the run chase.
Recent test century-maker Daryl Mitchell threatened to pull the game back for the hosts, after they were reduced to 26/3 in the fifth over.
Mitchell smashed eight boundaries and a six in a 47-ball 71, but when he was caught in the deep by Joey Field, off the bowling of Clarkson, the Stags were close to victory.
Wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher briefly threatened with 17 from 11 balls, but Canterbury needed 28 from the last over, when Fletcher was dismissed by Bracewell.
Victory for the Stags leaves them joint top with Wellington Firebirds, with Canterbury and Otago tied for third, eight points back.