Cricket: Record-breaking Michael Bracewell century sees Wellington pull off Super Smash heist against Central Districts

A superb century from captain Michael Bracewell has delivered a stunning victory for Wellington Firebirds, defeating Central Stags by two wickets in New Plymouth.

Bracewell, 30, hammered 141 not out - the highest score by a New Zealand batter in Twenty20 cricket - and saw the Firebirds haul in the Stags' 227/4, winning with one ball to spare thanks to the brilliance of their captain.

Needing 17 from the final over - bowled by rival captain Tom Bruce - Bracewell cleared the ropes with the first ball, before attempting to take a single that resulted in a run out of Ollie Newton.

By the time Bracewell was back on strike, the equation was 10 runs needed from three balls. But such was the class of his innings, Bracewell got Wellington home with a ball to spare, first by sending Bruce over long-off for six, and then hitting the winning runs with a lap over fine leg for four.

Bracewell finished his innings with a huge 110 of his 141 runs coming in boundaries, with 11 fours and 11 sixes.

After fielding first on the short boundaries of Pukekura Park, Bracewell's decision was gratefully accepted by Central Districts, who racked up an impressive 227/4 from their 20 overs.

Josh Clarkson top-scored for the Stags with a belligerent 76 not out from 38 balls, with seven fours and two sixes in his knock, supported by Bayley Wiggins (45 from 30) and Bruce (36 from 17).

In reply, Bracewell walked to the crease at 4/1 after the dismissal of Blackcap Finn Allen, and could only watch on as his side slipped to 5/43 inside the powerplay.

Bracewell's cousin Doug was Wellington's chief tormentor, removing both openers inside his first over.

But the left-hander found valuable allies in his lower order. First, as part of a partnership with Jamie Gibson (21), Bracewell added 77 runs for the sixth wicket.

All-rounder Logan van Beek played a vital hand in Wellington's chase with an 18-ball 37, as part of a partnership worth 79 in 34 balls with Bracewell, who'd reached his century in 46 balls.

By the time van Beek was out, bowled by Doug Bracewell, Wellington needed 29 runs from the last three overs.

And thanks to their captain, they did just that. 

Bracewell's innings sees him overtake Blackcap Martin Guptill (120 not out) as the holder of the highest score in New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 history, and arguably could have scored even more on the postage stamp-sized boundaries on offer at Pukekura Park.

The win has Wellington third on the men's Super Smash standings, with 16 points from seven games played so far, four of those being victories. The Firebirds are four points off first-placed Canterbury, and two off Northern Districts in second.

Central Districts meanwhile are fourth, with 12 points from their first eight games, ahead of fifth-placed Auckland on net run rate.