Vipers v Diamonds (at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, 21 August) – Southern Vipers 127 for 9 (Wyatt 59, Scholfield 24; Kasperek 4-16) beat Yorkshire Diamonds 124 for 5 (Armitage 34, Rodrigues 32, Winfield 23; Bates 2-27) by three runs.
Transmitted on live TV from the SKY POD for outside broadcasts, commentators were pre-occupied about whether the England Women’s team might be coached by sporting icon Charlotte Edwards, who is usually part of their broadcasting team.
Attention turned to field of play, watching the departures of Vipers’ most seasoned batters with low scores. New Zealander Suzi Bates (9) was first to go at 62-1, stumped by Australia’s star wicket keeper Alyssa Healy off New Zealander Leigh Kasperek. Kasperek also caught Vipers’ skipper Tammy Beaumont (1) off the leg-break bowling of Katie Levick.
England’s opener Danielle Wyatt seemed un-phased by the Diamonds attack. During the powerplay, she struck three sixes and seven fours off 22 balls. When Wyatt was removed by ex-Vipers player Linsey Smith (also off Levick) she seemed confident to scoop player-of-the-match having amassed 59 of the 79 runs at the half-way point.
Surreally, viewers saw ecstatic Wyatt burst–in to the Sky pod, awaiting her turn to speak. When she announced that she’d be bowling the third over, viewers also caught a glimpse of Charlotte Edwards, looking horrified to see not only a Vipers’ mid-order collapse, but also watching Wyatt disclose her team’s tactics live on TV.
Danielle Wyatt’s video diary.
Thea Brookes (17) anchored the innings for half-an-hour until caught-and-bowled by Katie George (1-25). Paige Scholfield (24) also offered stubborn resistance until she was removed by Indian star Jemimah Rodrigues off the bowling of New Zealand’s Leigh Kasperek’s off-spin.
Wrapping-up the Vipers’ tail-end, Kasperek claimed three more wickets during the same over, ending with a season’s best (4-16). Kasperek deserves special mention for awarding golden ducks to Australia’s Amanda-Jade Wellington (caught first ball by Hollie Armitage) and Tash Farrant (stumped first ball by Alyssa Healy).
Set 128 to win, Alyssa Healy (11) slammed two fours to open Diamonds’ account before Dannielle Wyatt’s direct hit sent her packing with only 12 runs on the board. England star and Diamonds captain Lauren Winfield (23) together with ever reliable Hollie Armitage (34) added 48 for the second wicket until Winfield went ‘leg-before’ to Suzi Bates (2-27). Armitage went the same way to Fi Morris (1-11) at 83-3.
A cliff-hanger ending saw India’s hard-hitting Jemimah Rodrigues slog three fours off 25 balls to nudge Diamonds back into the match. The scorecard froze at 120 when Lauren Bell (who’d bowled 16 dot balls) caught a dolly lobbed from Alice Davidson-Richards (16) off the bowling of Tash Farrant.
Once Rodrigues (32) was clean bowled by Bates at 122 (four balls after Davidson-Richards’ departure) there was plenty of tension but only two more runs were added.
Result: Vipers snatched victory from Diamonds, by 3 runs.
Scorecard can be viewed here.