Central West will go into Sunday's second day of their Cricket NSW Plan B Regional Bash preliminary campaign with a head of steam after knocking off Western Zone rivals Orana on Saturday, stifling an Outlaws fightback to do so.
Central West posted a more-than-competitive 6-165 after being sent in at Orange's Wade Park and picked up even more momentum when Mitch Taylor (2-37) sent Charlie Kemptson packing for a second-ball duck in the first over of Orana's chase.
But Orana fought fire with fire and blasted their way back into the clash, Myles Smith (46 from 27) and Tim Howarth (32 from 25) added a rapid 63 for the second wicket to spark an Outlaws fightback, and the middle order chipper in nicely after that onslaught.
The Outlaws eventually needed just 26 to win from the last four overs but the dismissal of Mat Skinner (15 from six) sparked a late collapse, the Macquarie Valley-based side lost 5-6 to ultimately fall 20 runs short.
"It was a little bit too close for comfort in the end and even though I thought Orana fought back really well, we probably got a little bit flustered after they started going harder in those first few overs," Wranglers skipper Jameel Qureshi said.
"It's good to get the job done though, that was the main thing [on Saturday], getting the result so we can go into [Sunday's] games against the South Coast and Illawarra with plenty of confidence.
"We'll look to stay a bit more composed in those games now, we'd love to pick up two more wins and take any other results out of the equation but we'll see how we go."
Should the Wranglers down both the Crew and the Flames on Sunday they'll lock up a spot in the semi-finals for the second summer in a row, with the finals day once again set to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
It remains to be seen what the Wranglers will do with their line up in the last two days, after dropping an 11th hour selection bombshell by leaving incumbent Western Zone wicketkeeper Matt Corben out of the final XI on Saturday.
Former Sydney University skipper James Larkin headlined the Wranglers' innings with a 49-ball knock of 71, combining with Qureshi (35 from 27) to lift the side after coming together at 3-40 when Jaden Ekert (26 from 14) was dismissed.
They added 82 for the fourth wicket and set up Central West's innings, with Wayne Sellers (19 from 12) adding a handy contribution late.
Kempston was caught from the second ball of Taylor's first over before Smith and Howarth went ballistic, with the Bathurst quick eventually removing the former, before the Wranglers' spinners went to work.
It is disappointing... it shows you how brutal Twenty20 cricket can be.Orana skipper Jason Ryan
In fact Qureshi (0-19) probably held himself, Mitch Black (2-27) and Connor Slattery (3-27) back for slightly too long, as the pace came off the ball the Wranglers wrestled back momentum.
The Outlaws fought hard to stay in the clash through Zach Bayliss (24 from 25), Skinner and Doug Potter (14 from seven), but some tight bowling at the death and some rash shots proved costly for the 2016-17 champions in the end.
"It is disappointing," Outlaws skipper Jason Ryan said.
"It shows you how brutal Twenty20 cricket can be, we're right in that game until there's two overs to go and we lose a couple, they bowl a good over and it's game over.
"We felt they were in a position to score about 200 at one stage so I thought we did well to hold them to 165 and we're still well and truly in it.
"If results go our way [on Sunday] and we can pick up two wins we're still a hope and you never know. I said to the guys in the sheds 'if you want to have a crack we go but if you don't we may as well go back to Dubbo now'.
"They're all keen and ready to go, so we'll see we go, because every side is beatable in this form of the game."
Central West face the South Coast Crew from 9.30am at at Shellharbour's Tom Willoughby Oval before taking on the Illawarra Flames at Albion Park's Keith Grey Oval from 1.30pm.
The Outlaws play the Flames first-up on Sunday at Keith Grey Oval from 9.30am, before playing the Crew at Tom Willoughby Oval from 1.30pm.