Even the brilliance of Alice Capsey, intended or by pure fluke, was nearly not enough for Oval Invincibles at Trent Bridge as some determined bowling at the end of the chase almost helped Trent Rockets the home side to an unlikely victory before Marrizanne Kapp sealed a five-wicket win with a ball to spare.
Trent Rockets have a side naturally suited to bowling first, restricting their opponents to a manageable total and then having the batting available to knock the runs off relatively easily. It sounds like a simple game plan; what hasn’t worked in their favour is neither of the two players to captain the side has won the toss in their three games.
The first match was won with a splendid bowling display from Alana King, whose four for 15 included her first ever hat-trick. However, defending below-par totals is never easy, and to do it match after match is even more tricky.
Oval Invincibles came into the game with a similar record to the Rockets, having won one and lost the other. They were again without their Skipper Dane van Niekerk and Suzie Bates kept her place in the side, not a bad replacement with all things considered.
Nat Sciver has been in a decent run of form of late and kept things ticking for England during the Commonwealth games at times to the detriment of her natural game, and she did the same at Trent Bridge today. The Rockets’ top order hasn’t fired just yet. Elyse Villani and Bryony Smith haven’t played much cricket lately, and Mignon du Preez hasn’t found her groove for a while. The pressure, therefore, is on Sciver to bat through an innings; she finished unbeaten on 58 as wickets fell around her.
Villani was run out by Suzie Bates prowling at mid-on, and a bullet throw to the bowler Marizanne Kapp saw the Australian back in the hutch. However, Marie Kelly lasted one Alice Capsey delivery as she drilled a low catch back at the bowler.
It wouldn’t be the only wicket she effected off her bowling; Sciver smashed another chance at her; one-handed, it looked like it was going to stick only to drop onto the stumps with Kathrine Bryce short of her ground.
The Rockets’ top four all reached double figures, with only Sciver making a substantive contribution, and 112 for eight never looked enough to defend, especially when Bates and Capsey were in full flow. However, Sarah Glenn helped wrestle the game back for the Rockets with two for 29, as Capsey (24) was caught by Brunt at long-on, and Glenn bowled Bates (41).
Ten dot balls from King to Kapp brought the equation to a run a ball, but with seven wickets in hand, you would always back the batting team to score 22 runs from the same number of balls. When Bryony Smith bowled Kira Chathli, it would be the team that held their nerve that would seal it, and Kapp has done it enough for the result to be inevitable once she was on strike.
This result makes life difficult for the Rockets knowing they will have to start putting in better performances with the bat, and they will be able to do that again on Saturday.
Oval Invincibles have a title to defend, and you would expect them to get better from here.