Northern Diamonds 128-9
Southern Vipers 144-6
Southern Vipers win by 16 runs
Southern Vipers recovered from 49 for five, batting first, to claim a 16-run victory over the Northern Diamonds at Headingley.
The result sets up a mad scramble for the remaining two places at next Saturday’s Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Day.
Heading into Wednesday’s final day of group fixtures, the Vipers, Diamonds, Thunder and Western Storm are all still in contention for two places to join the already qualified Blaze. Thunder host Diamonds and Vipers host Sunrisers.
A feature of this fixture was early wickets in both innings. The Vipers, having elected to bat, lost five wickets inside nine overs before recovering to 144 for six. The Diamonds then slipped to five for three before being stumbling to 128 for nine.
Youth and experience ensured the Vipers leap-frogged the Diamonds into second place in the table on 17 points.
Nancy Harman hit a regional best 32 not out off 19 balls from number eight in only the 23-year-old’s 10th competition senior appearance in orange. In defence, England seam legend Anya Shrubsole struck three times with the new ball, removing key duo Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage and finishing with a superb four for 18.
England batter Maia Bouchier looked strong on both sides of the wicket as she hit five boundaries in a 16-ball 24 at the top of the order after Vipers had elected to bat.
However, the Vipers lost regular wickets through the first half of the innings, slipping to 38 for three after five overs and later 49 for five inside nine.
Bouchier was the third to fall when she lobbed Grace Hall up to cover.
Hall, a slingy seamer with variations aplenty, has enjoyed an impressive competition so far.
The 20-year-old took her tally of wickets to 10 in six games – her first half dozen appearances in senior regional cricket. After getting Bouchier, she forced Freya Kemp to play a yorker onto her stumps, leaving the Vipers five down.
From there, the Vipers were forced into an innings rebuild. And they did an excellent job on a pitch used for a Vitality Blast game between Yorkshire and Derbyshire earlier in the day.
The recovery was led by captain Georgia Adams, who shared 43 with Emily Windsor and an unbroken 52 with Harman.
The latter two were both valuable contributors – Windsor with a measured 25 and Harman with four fours before she lofted the last ball of the innings over long-on for six off Abi Glen.
Windsor had been bowled advancing at leg-spinner Katie Levick, who had earlier trapped Georgia Elwiss lbw on the way to an impressive 2-12 from four overs.
Harman was certainly the most destructive Viper on show with the bat, while Adams was busy.
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 Winfield-Hill’s off-stump.
The other opener Leah Dobson then miscued to mid-on at the end of same over before Armitage chipped to cover in the fourth as the score became five for three.
Then came a counter-attack from England hopeful 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 their side back in the hunt, the latter making 30 off 20 balls as the score moved to 99 for four 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 for seven 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 amid an otherwise eventless over.