Southern Vipers beat Yorkshire Diamonds by 3 runs - Kia Super League
Danni Wyatt continued her stunning Kia Super League form with a swashbuckling half-century, before Suzie Bates held her nerve in a final over thriller to hand Southern Vipers a three run victory over Yorkshire Diamonds.
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Southern Vipers v Yorkshire Diamonds at the Ageas Bowl
Southern Vipers 127/9 beat Yorkshire Diamonds 124/5 by three runs
Wyatt smashed 59 from 30 balls to take her tally up to 225 runs in the last four days, following a supreme 110 and 56 against Surrey Stars and Western Storm.
But Bates was needed to defend seven in the final over, as Jemimah Rodrigues was bowled and Katie George and Bess Heath could only muster three runs off the 20th over.
The four-point win moves the Vipers up to second in the table and on course for a third Finals Day appearance in four seasons, and gives Diamonds an uphill battle to quality for the Hove showpiece.
Chasing 128 to win, the Diamonds lost key opener Alyssa Healy in the second over after a direct hit run out from Wyatt.
Lauren Winfield and Armitage, who was dropped on eight, were originally stunted by the parsimonious Lauren Bell, whose four overs of in-swing only went for 13, before approaching the required rate with a 48-run stand.
But both were lbw, to Suzie Bates and Fi Morris respectively, to pile the pressure on the Yorkshire middle-order, with 45 still required.
Indian Rodrigues appeared to have taken Diamonds to the victory line with 32, but Bates used her experience to save the game.
Earlier, Wyatt continued her wonder-week from ball two, after Tammy Beaumont had won the toss and batted on a hard-new surface, as she placed a six over extra cover.
The England T20 opener looked like she was playing a video game as she peppered the off-side with aggressive batting.
Two more maximums, one straight, the other over cover, was joined by seven fours, which often saw her advance at the bowlers.
Her fifty, the fourth time past the milestone in this year’s KSL, came off 22 balls, as she and Suzie Bates put on 62 for the first wicket, with Wyatt scoring 49 of them.
But the end of the powerplay saw an incredible momentum shift toward the Diamonds thanks to some high-quality strangling– as the last 14 overs saw the Vipers only add another 65, for the loss of nine wickets.
Katie Levick, Kasperek and Katie George were the keys behind the visitor’s turnaround – with the trio returning combined 12 over figures of 58 for seven.
Kasperek’s figures caught the eye but it was spinner Levick, two for 17, who dismissed the dangerous international pairing of Wyatt and Beaumont, in the ninth and 11th overs, the former dragging a sweep to midwicket and the later snaffled at short fine leg, which set-up the procession of wickets.
Southern Vipers all-rounder Suzie Bates:
“I’ve joked with the girls that if I could score a run at the moment that I would be an all-rounder!
“I have been frustrated with my batting so I have been really happy to contribute with the ball.
“When I was given the ball in the last over I was up for the challenge. I didn’t quite manage to see the game out against the Storm earlier in the competition but today I back myself to bowl those yorkers.
“I knew I had to back myself to bowl the yorker where last time I tried a few cutters. If you get it full, straight and under the bat it is the hardest ball to play.
“You always feel that when you go into the last over and there are still runs to get you are still in with a chance. Rodrigues was the big wicket and from there we knew it was our chance to win it.
“At the moment I am just kicking the ball and trying to get to the other end when Danni is batting.
“She is on a different planet at the moment and so good to watch. We all have to contribute around her and take the pressure off her.”
Yorkshire Diamonds head coach Dani Hazell:
“Taking it to the last over you know that anything can happen.
“After pulling it back so well with the ball, after Danni Wyatt got a flier, we did a really good job but we couldn’t get it over the line – it was an impressive last over from Suzie Bates.
“The bowling unit has come together and it doing its job.
“Leigh has bowled really well and picked up a good few wickets as well.
“Rodrigues looked like she was in and hitting it nicely and that is the disappointing thing.
“There were stages in the last few overs where we could have won the game and put it to bed but we let the game go on too long and they played well.
“We must turn up in every game and give it our best. We are down to the situation where it is win every game.”