Words by Cam Scott, ECB Rising Reporter
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Sensational spin trio Georgia Adams, Danni Wyatt and Amanda-Jane Wellington led Southern Brave to a 12-run victory over Oval Invincibles at the Kia Oval in a repeat of last year’s final.
Adams had won the competition with Invincibles last year, but today donned the green of Brave to secure revenge for the away side.
Taking two for 16, Adams was supported by Wyatt (two for 16) and Wellington (one for 33) as Invincibles were restricted to 141 for seven. Fourth spinner Sophia Dunkley also chipped in with a wicket as Invincibles fell shy of Brave’s 153.
Smriti Mandhana had earlier blasted a quick-fire 46 for last year’s runners up, but it was the Brave’s spin attack that rightly stole the headlines taking six wickets between them in a dominant display for the pre-tournament favourites.
Brave had been put into bat by Invincibles, with Mandhana and Wyatt opening up. A pair of fours in the opening two deliveries from the former set the tone for the away side, who got off to a flyer.
The duo made it look very easy in the afternoon sunshine in south London, scoring a series of spectacular boundaries on their way to a mighty 41 from the powerplay.
A shift in momentum came though when impressive young Welsh spinner Sophia Smale entered the fray - she almost dismissed Wyatt in her first set, only for Suzie Bates to drop the straightforward catch. Smale had the last laugh though when she had Wyatt stumped in her next set.
Mandhana departed shortly after - this time stumped off the bowling of Mady Villiers - and with that came a gear change in favour of Invincibles.
Seventeen-year-old Smale continued to get the better of the Brave batters, and she finished with figures of two for 19. Further pressure was applied by Eva Gray and Marizanne Kapp who made life difficult for the middle-order.
A late flourish from Adams and Freya Kemp lifted Brave’s score, before both were run out thanks to electric fielding from Invincibles. There was a third run out on the final ball, and Brave finished on 153 for eight - a lower total than looked likely at one stage.
Invincibles got off to a strong start in reply, with both Bates and Lauren Winfield-Hill landing some mighty blows early on to entertain the home crowd.
The pair were dismissed in quick succession though, before Brave’s spin duo of Wellington and Adams kept the run-rate down with some tidy bowling.
Adams haunted her former teammates on her return to the Oval, claiming the key wickets of the dangerous Winfield-Hill and Kapp. Her exceptional spell put the away side on top and Brave looked set to secure revenge for the loss in last year’s final.
Wyatt then joined in the fun, taking a pair of wickets herself, and Brave remained in control of the game.
Ryana Mcdonald-Gay hit three huge sixes on her way to an eye-catching 19, but it proved too little too late for the home side as they fell 12 shy of Brave’s total.