Source: ECB

An Eliminator to remember

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What a classic game at the Oval for the Eliminator! It’s strange how low-scoring games make for the greatest tension, the greatest excitement.

On their home ground Invincibles scored far fewer runs than they would have wished. Georgia Adams and Dane van Niekerk both fell early to two of England’s crop of hopeful quicks, Emily Arlott and Issy Wong, but the middle order squeezed useful runs out, without ever getting right on top. Marizanne Kapp’s 37 proved to be the highest score of the innings. Alice Capsey (26) saw the 100 up but the tail failed to wag decisively as Arlott and Erin Burns both went for under a run a ball. Kirstie Gordon (2-22) again caused the batters problems.

A total of 114-7 looked thoroughly unsatisfactory.

Glum faces in SE11 suddenly brightened up when both Katie Mack and Eve Jones went for ducks (14-2), only skipper Amy Jones (35) making the target look easy with another series of boundaries. Like Invincibles before them, the middle order knocked a few good runs around, but couldn’t achieve a match-winning performance.

The game was turned in two consecutive balls. First, Tash Farrant took a quite exceptional catch in the off-side ring to dismiss Burns (23); she dived backwards to take the ball to her left at full stretch. The astute captain, van Niekerk, immediately offered her the next set of five, only for Amy Jones to mistime an off-drive and give van Niekerk a more straightforward catch at extra.

Suddenly 66-2 off 50 had become 66-4 and the crowd was roaring. This is where so many of the franchises have fallen short: two quick wickets and the remaining batters cannot regain the initiative. Phoenix did creep on to 81-4, but from there unclear heads led to unwise shots and six wickets fell in a heap for 13 runs.

Invincibles gave further proof that their bowling attack is the best on offer. Most unusually van Niekerk limited herself to five bowlers, and three of them went for fewer than a run a ball.

The details:

Ismael 20 balls, 15 runs, 1 wicket
Capsey 20 balls, 18 runs, 1 wicket
but the pièce de résistance:
Farrant 19 balls, 10 runs 4 wickets, the outstanding analysis of the tournament

Add to them Kapp’s excellent 3-21 off 15, and you have a recipe for success.

Accurate catching by Sarah Bryce the keeper and in the ring helped the cause; Phoenix finished a desperately disappointing 20 runs short.

So the South Londoners cross Vauxhall Bridge tomorrow to see if they can topple the Brave, who have looked like the champions from way back. Their strength lies in their batting. Now they need to prove its quality one last time against a fine bowling attack with its tail firmly up.

It might just prove a classic.

Details:
Final at Lord’s
Saturday 21 August, 15.00
Southern Brave v Oval Invincibles

Afterthought

And what if we had been offered two proper semi-finals? Double the tension we had at the Oval? Perhaps that’s more than the human body can stand.