Howell produced some hurricane hitting yesterday, striking 88 from just 57 balls with an astonishing eight fours and seven sixes.
His 50 was posted in 32 balls, two balls quicker than the previous fastest by a Canterbury batsman, an honour shared by Dave Dempsey (1980-81) and Chris Cairns (1991-92).
It was the 10th fastest Shell Cup half-century on record.
Howell hammered the Wellington bowling mercilessly in the first 15 overs when the fielding restrictions were in force, dealing to speed and spin with similar success. He eventually fell in the 17th over, caught on the long-on boundary.
He had been closing on the cup record for the fastest century -- made in 65 balls by Aravinda de Silva for Auckland.
With Brad Doody, Howell shared a 115-run opening stand, a record first- wicket partnership for Canterbury against Wellington. It broke the back of the home team's target of 220.
Howell has been struggling for run-scoring consistency this season after an off-season shoulder operation. ``It was nice to hit a few more in the middle than I have been . . .'' Howell said last night.
Howell believed batting second, when the wicket had flattened out, helped his cause. ``In our other three games this season we have batted first and struggled with the ball moving about and bouncing a bit. It seems to flatten out later in the day.''
Canterbury's Gary Stead and Gareth Hopkins carried on the good work, but in a different manner. They concentrated on swiftly-run singles before finding the fence, both contributing unbeaten 48s.
Wellington's innings was largely built around one partnership, worth 140, between Jason Wells and Phil Chandler.
Test opener Matthew Bell lasted just three balls before being caught behind trying to leave a ball from Warren Wisneski.
Chandler and Wells lifted Wellington from the 30-over mark, scoring at five an over and taking runs comfortably off the Canterbury slow bowlers.
But when Chandler was caught deep on the legside, it sparked a slide, with the remaining seven wickets tumbling for 38 runs.
Testing bowling from Chris Martin, who had his best cup return of four for 28, and Shane Bond, plus two run-outs, contributed to Wellington's demise.
Wellington was without experienced all-rounder Richard Petrie, who was reduced to 12th man duties through injury. Fast bowler Heath Davis never made Christchurch after getting stuck at fog-bound Wellington Airport.
Shell Cup points after seven rounds: Northern Districts 10, Canterbury 8, Central Districts 8, Auckland 8, Wellington 6, Otago 2.