Trent Rockets won their final home game of this summer’s Hundred in style with an eight-wicket win against Welsh Fire, who have endured another torrid time in this format, with 18 balls to spare.
Sometimes the most challenging thing in cricket is to know when you have to take a step back for the good of the team. Nat Sciver has just done that with Trent Rockets. Hot on the heels of the Commonwealth Games, when Sciver was thrust into the captaincy with Heather Knight’s injury, it would be tough on anyone. Sciver decided before this game that she wanted to concentrate on her own game; if the Rockets could get the best out of Sciver the cricketer, it would benefit all parties.
Trent Rockets have made repeated mistakes in their approach to many games, not helped by senior players being out of form with the bat and not always utilising domestic players to the best of their abilities. It would be easy to lay that at the door of Sciver, but that wouldn’t tell the whole story. Analysts and coaches have a big say in how things unfold on the field.
Taking that burden off Sciver seemed to ease the side as a whole, Sciver could get on with the job of being a world-class allrounder, and Elyse Villani could control the strings. It didn’t look promising after Tammy Beaumont dispatched Kathryne Bryce (her Lighting captain) for fours off her first four balls.
Beaumont had looked relieved after she guided Welsh Fire to their first win in the Hundred on Friday at Sophia Gardens. With this determination, Beaumont is looking for her place in the England T20 team. Scoring runs quickly enough is the problem, not the amount. If Sciver is not to captain England in the series against India next month, Beaumont’s leadership qualities could be the way back in.
Unfortunately, after Beaumont departed to Bryony Smith’s first delivery, Welsh Fire never got going. The middle-order of Fran Wilson, Annabel Sutherland and Rachael Haynes only added eleven runs between them. Sciver accounted for the Australians Sutherland and Haynes to finish with figures of two for 22.
Sarah Bryce (23) again opened and looked solid as wickets tumbled around her, and only Nicola Carey (27) offered any resistance as the pair added 33 for the fifth wicket. Katherine Brunt and Bryony Smith finished with two for 14, while Welsh Fire ended their innings on 100 for eight.
With Birmingham Phoenix leaving the door open for qualification for the eliminator Trent Rockets knew that a win could still see them qualify, although results still need to go their way. It would be imperative that their overseas stars finally found some form with the bat. Villani did that with her first fifty of the tournament, finishing unbeaten on 55 from 40 balls.
At the other end, Mignon du Preez seemed to be back at her best with an array of finding the gaps and going over the top when it was needed. Only time will tell if Trent Rockets have found the right formula at the right time.