Northern Diamonds v Southern Vipers
Charlotte Edwards Cup
Sunday June 4, 2023, 3.30pm
Toss: Southern Vipers won it and elected to bat.
Teams – Diamonds: Lauren Winfield-Hill, Leah Dobson, Hollie Armitage c, Sterre Kalis, Bess Heath w, Chloe Tryon, Lizzie Scott, Katherine Fraser, Abi Glen, Katie Levick, Grace Hall.
Vipers: Ella McCaughan, Maia Bouchier, Nicole Faltum w, Georgia Adams c, Georgia Elwiss, Freya Kemp, Emily Windsor, Nancy Harman, Linsey Smith, Mary Taylor, Anya Shrubsole.
Match summary: The Northern Diamonds were beaten by the Southern Vipers in a nail-biting 16-run clash which saw both sides battle hard to recover from the loss of early wickets. The Vipers posted 144-6 and defended it to prevent the Diamonds – 128-9 – securing a place at Finals Day with a win. It means both sides go into Wednesday’s final day of group action hoping to seal one of two places available. Four teams are in the race.
Report: The Vipers, Diamonds, Thunder and Western Storm are all in contention for New Road. The Blaze have already qualified as group winners.
If the third-placed Diamonds, who have lost the last two matches, win their final group clash against Thunder at Blackpool on Wednesday, they will qualify.
This was a see-saw affair, befitting the battles both the Diamonds and Vipers have had across the first three years of regional action.
The Vipers were 49-5 before recovering to set a target of 145 before the Diamonds slipped to 5-3 chasing before recovering to 99-4 and slipping again to 128-9.
England legend Anya Shrubsole claimed a stunning 4-18 from four overs, including each of the first three wickets with the new ball.
Katie Levick starred with 2-12 from four overs with the ball, while Sterre Kalis top-scored with 32 with the bat. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t enough.
The Vipers innings was one of two halves.
The Diamonds dominated early on, reducing their visitors to 38-3 after five overs and 49-5 inside nine. Grace Hall claimed two of those, including England’s Maia Bouchier caught at cover for 24.
Chloe Tryon, Lizzie Scott and Levick also struck in that time.
But the Vipers hit back to add nearly another 100 from that position of peril.
Captain Georgia Adams was the cornerstone of the innings with a run-a-ball 42 not out, sharing a couple of useful partnerships with Emily Windsor and Nancy Harman.
They hit 25 and 32 not out respectively.
Harman’s aggressive 19-ball regional best effort from number eight included four fours and a six over long-on with the last ball of the innings.
While Hall claimed two wickets and Scott 1-20 from four overs, leg-spinner Levick was the pick of the Diamonds bowlers.
Her second wicket was that of Windsor bowled as she advanced down the pitch – 92-6 in the 16th.
That paved the way for Adams and Harman to share an unbroken 52, and it proved a crucial stand in giving the Vipers all the momentum heading into their effort with the ball.
The momentum they created was then built upon by Shrubsole, whose second ball in the second over – a beauty of an in-swinger – ripped out Lauren Winfield-Hill’s off-stump.
Leah Dobson then miscued to mid-on at the end of the same over before Hollie Armitage chipped to cover in the fourth as the score became 5-3
Then came a counter-attack from Bess Heath, who crashed two fours and three sixes in 26 off 12 balls, taking the score to 46 in the seventh over before falling lbw to Mary Taylor’s seam.
From there, Sterre Kalis and South African overseas all-rounder Chloe Tryon shared 53 inside eight overs to put the Diamonds side back in the hunt, the latter making 30 off 20 balls as the score moved to 99-4 in the 15th over.
But they were part of another damaging collapse of three wickets to fall for six runs.
The medium pace of Georgia Elwiss accounted for Tryon caught at cover and Katherine Fraser at midwicket in the 15th over before Shrubsole returned to get Kalis caught at mid-off for 32 as the score fell to 105-7 in the 16th.
Another fightback looked a long shot, and so it proved.
Scott was stumped off Adams’ off-spin. Then, with 22 needed off the last over from Taylor, Levick was run out amidst an otherwise eventless over.
Magic moment: Grace Hall has taken to senior regional cricket like a duck to water with 10 wickets in six games, and her getting Maia Bouchier caught at cover for 24 was a huge wicket, leaving the Vipers at 38-3 after five overs. Bouchier had looked in super touch in her 16 balls at the crease.
Turning point: The unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 52 in the final 28 balls of the Vipers innings between Adams and Harman gave the Vipers a huge lift. They built on that with three early wickets at the start of their defence.
Stat of the match: There is a scenario which could see the four teams bidding to reach Finals Day all finish on 17 points. Net run-rate would then come into play.
What they said – Captain Hollie Armitage: “We haven’t been at our best the last couple of games, but we have to brush it off quick and be ready to fight for the next game.
“They got 40 off the last three overs of their innings, but I thought we generally bowled well. We know it’s a good pitch at Headingley, but unfortunately we didn’t perform well with the bat.
“Today it just needed someone to take ownership with the bat, and no one really did that. But these are the things you learn from.”
What’s next: The Diamonds travel to Blackpool for a ‘Roses’ blockbuster with Thunder on Wednesday. It begins at 11.30am at Stanley Park and is the first part of a T20 double header with Lancashire’s men.