Wellington Blaze’s hot streak in the NZC Women’s Twenty20 title race came to a halt in their first match of 2018, Northern Spirit handing them an upset loss at Karori Park.
Former South Africa international Bernadine Bezuidenhout starred for Spirit in a 23-run victory with a hard-hitting 64 off just 46 balls at the top.
The momentum she injected into the innings from the outset after her side had been sent in was enough to make the difference for the pink-clad visitors, Bezuidenhout scoring more than half the runs herself in Spirit’s tally of 126 for five.
The reshuffled Blaze squad then suffered a rare bad day with the bat, stumbling to 57 for five before wicketkeeper Jess McFadyen and Jess Kerr tried to spare their blushes with 34 for the sixth wicket.
Both fell while trying to put the foot down and get up, while teenage tyro Nensi Patel was superb with the ball, returning 3-13 from her 3.1 overs with Kate Anderson chiming in with 2-16 off four to roll the Blaze for 103.