Scorecard

Southern Vipers v Northern Diamonds

Charlotte Edwards Cup

Friday June 14, 2024, 3pm

Utilita Bowl

Toss: Diamonds won it and elected to bat.

Vipers: Danni Wyatt, Maia Bouchier, Charli Knott, Georgia Adams c, Freya Kemp, Charlie Dean, Georgia Elwiss, Rhianna Southby w, Linsey Smith, Freya Davies, Lauren Bell.

Diamonds: Emma Marlow, Hollie Armitage c, Sterre Kalis, Erin Burns, Bess Heath w, Leah Dobson, Rebecca Duckworth, Katherine Fraser, Sophia Turner, Katie Levick, Rachel Slater.

Match summary: Hollie Armitage grabbed her second fifty of the Charlotte Edwards Cup, and passed 200 runs for the tournament on her 27th birthday, but couldn’t prevent Northern Diamonds having their slim Finals Day hopes ended by champions Southern Vipers, who won by five wickets with seven balls to spare. 

Armitage was the glue for the Diamonds innings, with her unbeaten 69 seeing her share 50-plus stands with Sterre Kalis and Bess Heath as she pushed her side to a respectable 145-4.

Rachel Slater and Erin Burns both took two early wickets to leave defending champions Vipers on 29-4, and they later fell to 67-5.

But Charlie Dean came in and smashed 64 off 38 balls – her highest ever T20 score – in a 79-run stand with Georgia Elwiss to get Vipers over the line and qualify for Finals Day.

Hollie Armitage

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Hollie Armitage was excellent again in defeat at Southampton.

Report: Hollie Armitage used one of her birthday wishes to win the toss and choose to bat, with Rebecca Duckworth replacing Lauren Winfield-Hill in the team.

Winfield-Hill’s absence gave Emma Marlow a chance to open the batting for the first time in the competition, although she had previously taken on the role in the Racheal Heyhoe Flint Trophy this season.

She was bowled by England fast bowler Lauren Bell in the first over, but it wasn’t the setback it initially looked like being for Diamonds as Armitage and Sterre Kalis productively set a foundation for the innings.

The Netherlands international, with a front foot clip and then a back foot pull through midwicket off Bell, got things moving.

And then Armitage showed off her power by dispatching Linsey Smith twice in an over as the duo laid the foundations for a fruitful partnership.

The skipper also showed her cricket nous and deftness to twice paddle Freya Davies to the vacant fine-leg region.

Armitage and Kalis – who had previously put on 97 together against Central Sparks last Saturday – eased through a fifty partnership and to 66 before they were split up.

Heath and Kalis

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Sterre Kalis and Bess Heath both supported Hollie Armitage with valuable contributions.

Vipers went bang-bang when Georgia Adams found Kalis’ leading edge and caught it herself, the Dutch international falling for 32, before Erin Burns was brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Rhianna Southby off Bell (79-3 in the 13th).

But the mini-wobble didn’t upset Diamonds’ flow as Armitage kept accumulating, with Bess Heath showing off her full repertoire of shots.

The wicketkeeper-batter upped the run-rate at a crucial time by pulling out a switch-hit to smash Adams through long-on before clubbing Bell for the only six of the innings.

Throughout Heath’s invention, Armitage kept ticking the runs over and reached her second Charlotte Edwards Cup fifty of the season in 46 balls.

The fourth-wicket stand ended at 58 when Heath sliced Charli Knott to extra cover, but Leah Dobson picked up an over-throw assisted five from the only ball she faced to continue Diamonds’ late-innings fun.

The last three overs all went for a double-figure amount of runs as Diamonds reached 145-4, and Armitage ended up with an unbeaten 69.

Diamonds were aggressive with the ball – in particular Rachel Slater, who used the new ball swing to bowl four overs straight through.

Rachel Slater

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Rachel Slater impressed with the new ball.

The Scotland international nipped one back to crash into Maia Bouchier’s leg-stump with the fourth ball of the innings.

She followed it up in her next over by squaring up Australian all-rounder Knott and hitting the top of off stump. Slater ended up with brilliant figures of two for 23, and Vipers were in early trouble.

Burns continued the pressure from the other end as Adams holed out to Marlow on the deep square boundary and Freya Kemp swished to mid-off – 29-4 in the sixth over.

Armitage also couldn’t keep herself out of the limelight as her fourth delivery saw Danni Wyatt cut to Kalis – 67-5 in the 11th. 

But, just as the Diamonds looked in complete control, Charlie Dean arrived and with Georgia Elwiss began to bring the game towards the hosts.

Dean, one of eight England internationals in the Vipers XI, quickly found the pace needed to succeed in the chase with nine boundaries flayed to all corners in a 29-ball fifty.

Her eventual 62 was her highest T20 score and best for Vipers in all formats, as she and Elwiss’ 79-run stand took them to victory with seven balls to spare.

Picture by Tony Marshall/Getty Images. Charlie Dean is better known for her skills with the ball, but the England star decided this game with the bat.

Magic moment: Hollie Armitage opening her shoulders to swing down the ground to smash her fifth of sixth fours to bring up a magnificent fifty.

Turning point: Charlie Dean hit three boundaries in a row off a Katherine Fraser over – which went for 18 runs. After that, from 121-5 after 16, the Vipers’ run-rate was completely in control.

Stat of the match: Southern Vipers have qualified for all four Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Days – winning two of them. The latest is at Derby next Saturday, with Blaze, South East Stars and Central Sparks also qualified. 

What they said – Hollie Armitage: “As a batting unit we will be happy with the total we put on, and I think the pitch wasn’t as easy as it looked.

“We were happy with the first half, but we couldn’t finish the job off with the ball.

“We’ve talked about building partnerships as a batting unit, and we know that is a key part to win games of cricket. We were happy with those partnerships with Bess and Sterre.

“My expectations with my batting are high now. 

Hollie Armitage

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Hollie Armitage was on media duties after today’s defeat.

“I’ve had a few low scores in this competition and not scored as many consistent runs as I would have hoped – and not been in as many partnerships as I would have wanted.

“It’s nice to contribute in some innings, but with my expectations at the minute I expect to be contributing more than I have been in this tournament.

“I think Rachel’s (Slater) been key up top in many of the games, especially when the ball is swinging. 

“She’s someone who targets the stumps as much as possible and challenges batters with that. She came off today and got those two key wickets early on.

“You look at the two sides on paper and you see a lot of international caps on the Vipers side. So I’m really proud of the way the girls fought against them.

“This tournament hasn’t been easy for us, but we still keep coming out and putting our best foot forward and trying to perform as well as we possibly can. Sometimes you find a way of losing, and I think that is a little bit of what happened today. But credit to Charlie Dean – she batted superbly.”

What’s next: Diamonds face Western Storm in a Sunday morning clash (11am) at Headingley, as part of a T20 double header with Yorkshire’s men. It is their penultimate CE Cup clash.

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