Less than 24 hours ago the Oval Invincibles were battling to stay in the eliminator. They found a way through, though, and although their batting failed to get going again today, it was the bowling that dug them out of a hole. Marizanne Kapp joint top-scored with 26 and took nine for four as the Invincibes cruised to victory and claimed the first Hundred title.
Marizanne Kapp, the South African international, was a star with both bat and ball for her side today. She missed five of the group games due to injury, and there were times during her absence that the side missed her extra competitiveness on the field. She was at the top of her game today, however. She was a miserly bowler and a scorer of quick runs.
With overcast skies, and a pitch with a light green tinge and rain forecast, it was understandable that Southern Brave chose to bowl first.
It looked to be paying off for Brave, who restricted the Invincibles to 21 for one from the powerplay. There were 17 dot balls in that spell. Dane van Niekerk and Fran Wilson were digging in, with Anya Shrubsole finding early swing. Then, with Lauren Bell with her contrasting style to her captain, Brave were on top.
While van Niekerk has been the primary run-scorer for Invincibles, Wilson, the England international, has found the tournament challenging, struggling to find rhythm in a season that has yet to go her way. Nevertheless, she worked hard for her 25 from 29 balls, before sweeping Amanda-Jade Wellington to the deep-midwicket boundary, only for Danni Wyatt to be waiting for the catch.
With the fall of Wilson, Invincibles were going a run a ball for their 61; it felt like her wicket was going to help out her side more than it would for the Brave.
While van Niekerk lost her wicket five balls later, it galvanised the Invincibles with 42 runs coming off the last 25 balls.
Alice Capsey, the young allrounder, helped up the tempo with a 12 ball 18 in a partnership of 34 with Kapp.
Suddenly Oval Invincibles had a total that was well within their capabilities to defend. Moreover, Southern Brave had lost only one of their group games, a defeat by 17 runs to Manchester Originals. So they did not need to fear this Ovals Invincibles side.
However, Kapp is one of those bowlers that can run through a team on her day, getting it to swing away. She did just that today, causing Wyatt early problems as the opener was looking to smash it through the off-side before edging behind to Sarah Bryce, the Invincibles keeper.
The decision to keep Kapp on for five more from the Nursery End was a big call from van Niekerk, and it proved the right one when Kapp tempted Sophia Dunkley into slicing it to second slip. Kapp would also take the wicket of Gaby Lewis, who was a late replacement for Smriti Mandana. Hers was the third wicket to fall in the first ten balls of the Brave reply, and with the top three all gone without scoring, it looked all over for Southern Brave.
With Stafanie Taylor still around, it was Brave’s last chance when she was stumped off the bowling of van Niekerk for 18.
Brave found themselves 29 for seven, needing 93 runs still to win. Fi Morris and Tara Norris added 33 for the eighth wicket to give credibility to the outcome, but it was never enough. Brave were bowled out for just 73.
Invincibles skipper Dane Van Niekerk said: “Marizanne has been incredible. It just shows you the quality player she is.
“She is the hardest working person I know, so nobody deserves it more.
“It’s incredible to win a Lord’s final and a special moment. One day when I retire I can look back and say I won at Lord’s.”