Danni Wyatt and Georgia Adams’ sweet hitting made sure Southern Vipers completed the Charlotte Edwards Cup group stage with a 100 per cent record, while they ended Northern Diamond’s competition.
England opener Wyatt thrashed an exhilarating 35 off 16 balls before Adams all but finished off the job with 47 – with Vipers already qualified straight to next Saturday’s final at Wantage Road, Northampton.
Nat Sciver had celebrated her marriage to Katherine Brunt with a classy fifty in her first match since the couple’s nuptials – as Diamonds set 141 in a game they needed to win to hold any hope of progressing.
But Wyatt and Adams knocked off the runs with 10 balls to spare to celebrate a six-wicket victory and gain atonement for losing out to the Diamonds in last year’s Eliminator.
Wyatt was ostentatious. First ball: cut forcefully. Second ball: driven square with power. Fourth ball: advance and splice over point. Sixth ball: smashed over cover. Seventh ball: guided down to the third ropes. All five balls went to the boundary as the experienced batter rushed to 21 in seven balls.
She used Sciver’s pace to find fours on either side of the wicket, but her fun ended in the fourth over when she anticlimactically cut Katie Levick to point. The devastating damage of 35 from 16 balls had been done.
Georgia Adams was given two lives – a steepling chance dropped and then a missed stumped – during a scratchy start to her innings, while Ella McCaughan was also twice put down.
Adams struck herself into form with a straight six shadowed by three languid swings to the boundary in the following five balls. She was dropped again but made sure Vipers’ chase was in complete control.
Her luck ran out when she was caught at square leg before Charlie Dean was caught and bowled two balls later. But McCaughan and Freya Kemp knocked off the final 16 runs in front of 2,400 spectators at the Ageas Bowl.
Earlier, having been asked to bowl, Vipers’ Dean took her competition tally to 10 wickets as she pinched the early wickets of Bess Heath and Stere Kalis. The off-spinner returned figures of two for 24.
Sciver largely went under the radar as she quietly crept her score upwards. Her first three boundaries were all helped around the corner, before finally showing her more usual bombast by powering through midwicket.
She unleashed herself with back-to-back fours off England hopeful Lauren Bell – firstly straight and then freeing her arms through point. A superb scoop took her boundary count to seven as she reached a half-century in 37 balls before she was run out by Maia Bouchier’s direct hit.
Armitage was also circumspect, punishing width and shortness with disdain, during her 69-run stand with Sciver. She ended up unbeaten on 48 as Diamonds finished up on 141 for four – with 15 coming off the 20th over.