Source: Julian Thompson

Vipers’ Achieve Unprecedented Sixth Straight Win

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Southern Vipers vs Northern Diamonds at Southampton (Ageas Bowl) on June 4 (14h30)

Poised to play in next week’s Final, Vipers became the first team ever, to make a clean sweep of all six group-stage matches for ECB’s Charlotte Edwards Cup. This sixth match was augmented by themed music and fiery flumes whenever bowlers took wickets or batters hit big shots. TV commentary came from SKY Sports’ outside broadcasting Pod (presented by Charles Dagnall and Lydia Greenway.) Also broadcast live by BBC Radio Solent (hosted by Melissa Story) and live stream social media (including Hampshire Cricket and ESPN-cric-info.)

Watched by over 2,000 spectators including both Head Coaches (Charlotte Edwards for Vipers and Danielle Hazell for Diamonds); the match was played as a double-header, making it pricey for those wanting to see just the women’s match. With the threat of more rain from the outset, the drying outfield was a little slippery. Weather improved markedly as the match progressed, ominous rain clouds dispersing and giving way to high cloud and a sunny afternoon.

*As might be expected, pace bowlers bowled dot balls and spin bowlers took wickets. Nearly half of all balls bowled by either teams were non-scoring ‘dot’ balls (43 dots from Vipers vs 46 dots from Diamonds.)

*Diamonds made several changes including Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn: who replaced Lauren Winfield-Hill and Beth Langston.

*On the day they used seven bowlers, with veteran Jenny Gunn as a renowned ‘death over’ specialist. Vipers played six bowlers including Charlie Dean and Tara Norris; resting Anya Shrubsole and Georgia Elwiss. Previously, a mere two weeks ago, Diamonds became the first team to take all of Vipers’ wickets, although Vipers still went on to win that match (on May 24.)

*Diamonds elected to bat first: Sterre Kalis (21 runs from 25 balls); Nat Sciver 50(37) and Bess Heath 3(7) faced 17 dot balls during their  power play.

*Bowling the fourth over, England’s Charlie Dean (2/24) clean-bowled keeper Bess Heath (3.) Immediately after six overs of power play (36/1) Dean struck again, trapping Sterre Kalis (21 runs from 25 balls) ‘leg before.’

*By mid-way, Diamonds were 66/2.

*Scoring above one-run-per-ball with seven ‘fours,’ England’s Nat Sciver 50(37) was joined by skipper Hollie Armitage 48*(39) who struck five ‘fours’. *Together their partnership added 69 runs for the third wicket, until Sciver was ‘run out’ by Maia Bouchier’s direct hit to the keeper’s end.

*At the 100 ball benchmark (16.4 overs) Diamonds were 112/3.

*Thereafter, tight fielding ensured that only ‘ones’ and ‘two’s were scored until Hollie Armitage hit two ‘fours’ during their final over (141/4.)

*During Vipers’ power play, openers  Georgia Adams 47(41), Danni Wyatt 35(16) (pictured); and Maia Bouchier 16(16) faced five fewer dot balls.

*After six overs Vipers were 53/1 (vs 36/1) *Openers Adams and Wyatt scored more than half of the required runs needed to win.

*Firstly, Wyatt retained strike and hit eight ‘fours’ – her strike rate exceeding two-runs-per-ball.

*Secondly, having survived at least one dropped catch, Adams confidently played a skipper’s innings with seven ‘fours’; also hitting Katie Levick for the only ’six’ of the days.

*Maia Bouchier kept Vipers’ score moving at one-run-per-ball, until trapped ‘leg before’ by Levick.

*Thereafter, Ella McCaughan, partnered Adams, banking 61 runs for Vipers’ third wicket.

*By midway, Vipers were almost twenty runs ahead (85/2 vs 66/2.) *Disaster struck Vipers when NZ’s Leigh Kasperek came on to bowl during the sixteenth over.

*After sweeping Kasperek confidently for ‘four,’ skipper Adams mis-timed a hook shot and was caught at square-leg by Rachel Slater.

*Two balls later, Charlie Dean was caught-and-bowled by Kasperek for a second-ball duck.

*At the 100-ball benchmark (16.4 overs) the match seemed to hang in the balance: (Vipers 127/4 vs 112/3).

*Vipers seemed certain of winning, needing only 17 runs from the last 20 balls.

*Ella McCaughan 27*(28) partnered by newbie Freya Kemp 5*(7) made good progress, scampering singles to keep McCaughan batting from the striker’s end.

*One final ‘four’ from Ella McCaughan saw Vipers home to victory with ten balls to spare.

*Diamonds could have spoiled the party, had they taken more catches in the drying outfield following recent rain.

In summary, chalking-up their sixth straight win, Vipers are the first team to stand undefeated (in two years since this competition started.) Both teams knowingly used a combination of seam bowlers who bowled dot balls for economy, and spin bowlers who took wickets (Leigh Kasperek 2/16 & Katie Levick took 2/29 for Diamonds; and Charlie Dean took 2/24 for Vipers.)

Result (group A winners:) Southern Vipers Women 144/4 (18.2 overs) beat Northern Diamonds Women 141/4 (20 overs) by 5 wickets with 10 balls remaining

Northern Diamonds 141/4 (20 overs, 7.05 runs-per-over): Nat Sciver 50 runs from 37 balls, Hollie Armitage 48*(39), Sterre Kalis 21 (25); Vipers bowling: Charlie Dean 2/24, Freya Kemp 1/28, Georgia Adams 0/19; Fow 1-16, 2-40, 3-109, 4-114;

Southern Vipers 144/4 (18.2/20 overs, 7.85 runs-per-over): Danni Wyatt 35(16), Georgia Adams 47(41), Ella McCaughan 27(28), Maia Bouchier 16(16), Diamonds bowling: Leigh Kasperek 2/16, Katie Levick 2/29; Katherine Brunt 0/22; Fow 1-37, 2-63, 3-124, 4-124.

Scorecard & statistics at URL

Entire match, is free-to-view courtesy of Hampshire Cricket live stream, via Smart TV (2h59m41s starting from 14m50s) at Youtube at URL

Footnote: As group winners, Vipers are poised to play the winners of the Eliminator, at next week’s Final at Northampton on 11 June, competing for ECB’s Charlotte Edwards Cup.