Melie Kerr hit her fourth 50 in five games this season | PHOTOSPORT

Sparks short-circuit, Blaze stays unbeaten!

Both the Otago Sparks (five from five for a perfect record through the front half of their campaign) and Wellington Blaze (four from four) were undefeated heading into this clash of the titans as Dream11 Super Smash came to Queenstown. Something had to give.

Blaze captain Maddy Green elected to bat in the top-of-the-table showdown and, thanks to Melie Kerr racking up yet another half century in the league this season, got a good total on the board.

Her 56 off 50 balls was her fourth half ton in five games - equalling the current record for most Blaze T20 fifties in one campaign, held jointly by Sophie Devine and Kerr herself, both achieving four last season.

Form? Remarkable! (See what we did there)

Kerr came in at the end of the second over with the score at 23/1 after a quick strike by Molly Loe cut short a blazing start from another young rising star in Georgia Plimmer.

Plimmer had raced to 19 off 10 balls and while Kate Ebrahim (2-34) removed fellow opener Rebecca Burns for 13, Kerr always loomed as the big threat.

She would bat into the 18th and shape the key stand of 65 for the fourth wicket with fellow WHITE FERNS tweaker Leigh Kasperek who contributed a run-a-ball 24 before being run out at the death.

A couple of quick stumpings from Sparks keeper Katey Martin gave the hosts a hope of stemming the damage at the death, but Jess McFadyen and Xara Jetly took 11 off the last over to finish it well for the visitors at 157/7.

The big talking point in the Sparks' reply was the exit of Sparks captain Suzie Bates - and again it was Kerr to the fore with the big wicket.

Kerr pushed Bates back onto her stumps for one of the rarer forms of dismissal: hit wicket.

It was the 10th over and the Sparks were in nervous territory at just 57/2 after tight bowling backed up by sharp fielding from the dangerous Wellingtonians.

Jess Kerr (2-16 off three) had struck early before her sister snapped the 55-run second-wicket partnership between Bates (24) and Martin who went on to the top score of 40 off 34 balls.

Their stabilising stand had laid a platform for the Sparks to attack through the back of the chase, but the Blaze simply didn't allow that to happen, with Maneka Singh striking twice in the 14th and all five Blaze bowlers picking up two wickets.

They kept the pressure on with tight lines, fielded like panthers and, from 76/3 in the 14th over, rattled through the next five wickets in the space of just 17 balls for a cost of only 10 runs.

At 87/8 the writing was on the wall for the Sparks: they were headed for a big first defeat.

Not only that, but Blaze's fifth win on the bounce - to the tune of 66 runs - would nudge them to the top slot on the table, level on points now with the Sparks, but ahead on net run rate.

The plot thickens...

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