Philip Salt made the most of an early life to help power the Adelaide Strikers to 5-181 in their crunch BBL clash with the Perth Scorchers at Optus Stadium on Friday night.
Salt was dropped on four when Ashton Agar failed to hang on to a tough chance while running with the flight of the ball.
The Strikers opener went on to make 59 off 31 balls, cracking seven fours and two sixes in a 71-run opening stand with Jake Weatherald (35 off 24).
Agar finally got his man when Salt stumbled out of his crease and was stumped by Josh Inglis, with the score already at 1-97 in the 10th over.
The Strikers looked set for a score in excess of 200 at that stage, but some disciplined bowling helped put on the brakes.
Adelaide managed just 36 runs off the last five overs, with spinner Fawad Ahmed, Matt Kelly, and Jhye Richardson bowling tightly when it mattered most.
Travis Head (35 off 31) and Jon Wells (23no off 16) struggled to keep the run rate high when the Strikers had plenty of wickets in hand.
Ahmed went off the field for the final few overs after hurting his foot while attempting to stop a powerful Wells drive.
The match has huge ramifications for the title hopes of both sides.
Adelaide will go to equal second on the ladder with a win, while the fourth-placed Scorchers will guarantee themselves a finals berth if they can get up.
Australian Associated Press