Defending women's champions the Wellington Blaze have kept their four-peat dream alive by beating the Auckland Hearts by 35 runs at Auckland's Eden Park Outer Oval this afternoon.
Third qualifiers after the regular season, Blaze turned the tables on the Hearts - who four days earlier had turned in a magnificent performance with the ball to beat them by just seven runs, in their final game of the regular season.
This time around, however, it was a comfortable victory for the star-studded Blaze, set up by an unbeaten half century (54* off 44 balls) from WHITE FERN Melie Kerr in a first innings total of 150 for six, after captain Maddy Green had elected to bat.
Green and Sophie Devine had given the Blaze a strong start in the power play before Kerr capitalised, despite another impressive turn from new young WHITE FERN Fran Jonas.
The teenager trapped her forthcoming captain Devine for 33 off 29 in the eighth, then had Green stumped for a run-a-ball 32 six overs later.
But the Blaze were set at 95/2 at the end of the 14th by then, a platform that gave Kerr the license to attack at the death.
Then the Blaze got off to the perfect start with the ball with Devine bowling dangerous opener Anna Peterson first ball, with a peach that swung then nipped in off the seam into her middle stump.
Katie Perkins and Bella Armstrong steadied the ship with a 65-run stand for the third, but a runout and two wickets in the space of four balls in Kerr's 18th over was a killer blow from which the Hearts could not recover, the Aucklanders limping home to 115/7 in their final innings of the summer.
Wellington Blaze will now meet top qualifier the Canterbury Magicians at 12.10PM at the Basin Reserve on Saturday, followed by the Canterbury Kings against top qualifier and defending champions the Wellington Firebirds from 4PM, both games live on Spark Sport.