Vipers win by 5 wickets with 20 balls to spare
One of the biggest headaches for England coaches throughout Danni Wyatt’s career is finding the best place in the batting line-up to make the most of her undoubted ability. For Wyatt, her only worry is scoring runs for the Southern Vipers and she did just that at Trent Bridge as she led her side to a comfortable victory against Lightning by five wickets with 20 balls remaining in their Charlotte Edwards Cup game.
It didn’t start all Vipers’ way as Marie Kelly who smashed a century against the same opposition last season for Central Sparks was keen to repeat the feat. In the second ball of the game, she dispatched Lauren Bell over the deep mid-wicket boundary for six with an effortlessness you would associate with Wyatt.
Vipers are a well-drilled side in the field. Charlotte Edwards expects nothing less from her side and it is one of the areas that they excel in over sides like Lightning.
It also helps that their first change bowler is Anya Shrubsole, still an exceptional bowler after her international retirement earlier in the season. With Kelly belting the ball with abandon and Ella Claridge at the other end, they rebuilt after the early loss of Tammy Beaumont, who chased a wideish delivery from Freya Kemp, an exciting young left-arm seamer. Lightning had reached 51 for one from the first 25 balls, and an excellent Powerplay was on the cards for the home team.
Claridge departed the next ball, and two balls later, Sarah Bryce joined her back in the pavilion. It might have been a sign for the expansive shots to be put away for a while. Claridge was unlucky as any other fielder on the field would not have reached the outstretched dive, but Lauren Bell was always getting there. Kelly who was hitting the ball cleanly over the infield, chanced her arm once too many, and her innings of 36 was over in 12 balls.
Kathryn Bryce stuck around for a while with 23 runs, but Lucy Higham, with 31, gave the bowlers just 141 to defend 141 which was always going to be thirty runs too short on a good batting surface.
Wyatt’s 76 was the standout innings of the day and allowed the Vipers a mid-order wobble, Lucy Higham claiming three for 30 from her three overs, including Wyatt’s crucial wicket, as 110 for none became 140 for 5. However, Higham should have had a fourth wicket as a Freya Kemp cover drive burst through the hands of Claridge.
It was too late, and Southern Vipers completed their unbeaten run and now look on course for another Finals Day with two games left to play before they get to Northampton.