Southern Vipers have booked their place at Kia Super League Finals Day
Southern Vipers booked their place at Kia Super League Finals Day and ended Yorkshire Diamonds’ slim hopes despite a dramatic four-wicket defeat at York Cricket Club.
Jemimah Rodrigues' magnificent unbeaten 112 from 58 balls guided Yorkshire to victory, secured off the final ball by Linsey Smith.
But the Diamonds knew only a bonus-point victory would keep their chances alive. To secure that, they needed to chase 185 inside 16 overs.
Despite Rodrigues’ efforts, Susie Bates’ 47 and a rapid 42 from Danni Wyatt helped Vipers to a total that was only chased down from the final ball.
Vipers will face Loughborough Lightning in the semi-final for the chance to take on Western Storm.
Yorkshire lost their openers inside the powerplay at the start of their chase - both to Tash Farrant - as Lauren Winfield departed for a second-ball duck and Alyssa Healy was caught for 22.
India star Rodrigues was aggressive from the outset, hitting eight boundaries in her first 20 balls to reach 42.
Her half-century came from 26 deliveries and her partnership with Hollie Armitage stretched to 90 from 54 balls to take Yorkshire to 118 for two in the 13th over.
But the Diamonds quickly fell to 121 for five. Amanda-Jade Wellington trapped Armitage for 23 and also dismissed Bess Heath two balls later for a duck, before Fi Morris had Alice Davidson-Richards caught behind.
As the 16th over ticked by, Yorkshire’s hopes ended. But Rodrigues was undeterred, striking cleanly to all parts of the ground.
She guided Yorkshire to within striking distance, needing 17 from 12 balls. Her century came from 51 balls and included 16 fours and one six.
There were 10 runs needed from the final over, with Smith’s single off the final ball clinching victory.
Earlier, Wyatt continued her sensational form by blasting 42 from just 20 balls inside the powerplay - taking her to 267 runs in her last four innings.
She launched her second ball for six, taking seven fours and another six before skying one to Davidson-Richards as Leigh Kasparek made the breakthrough.
Opening partner Bates allowed Wyatt to provide the acceleration, pacing her innings perfectly. She steadily began to build momentum, on several occasions placing the ball perfectly down the ground.
Beaumont’s innings was fully of ingenuity, punctuated by a string of sweeps and scoops. It was her wicket, dismissed by Davidson-Richards for a 29-ball 33, which ended the partnership at 76 from 51 balls in the 15th over.
Davidson-Richards struck again three balls later as Bates fell for 47 from 39 balls and Yorkshire began to claw back control at 127 for three.
Thea Brookes came and went for a run-a-ball seven - a third for Davidson-Richards - but a superb partnership of 43 from 20 balls between Maia Bouchier and Wellington guided the Vipers to 184 for four.
Vipers’ final group game is at home to Loughborough on Wednesday, with Yorkshire away at Western Storm.
Lauren Winfield - Yorkshire Diamonds captain
Great performance, I think they probably got 20 or 30 more than they should have done, certainly more than we would have liked but we know it is a really good wicket here.
Jemimah Rodrigues was unbelievable. She has just got better and better this competition. The last three, four, five games she has really grown into the role and hit her straps. That was as good as I’ve seen.
For her age she has an unbelievable head on her shoulders. She is just keen to learn. She is always asking questions. She has a fantastic cricket brain and all the shots, very exciting and glad she is on our team.
We have seen her perform well in a couple of tight chases and been a bit of a finisher for us. We are all nervous as hell on the sidelines and she looks cool as a cucumber. It was an unbelievable knock.
Tammy Beaumont - Southern Vipers captain
I guess for the neutral and for the Yorkshire fan it is an exceptional game. I’m pleased we got through to Finals Day, that’s obviously what we came for. But I’m extremely frustrated to have lost that game.
That was the first time as a batting unit we have all fired and got what should have been a defendable total. Don’t get me wrong, Jemimah Rodrigues played exceptionally well but I think we have let ourselves down in the field and with the ball a little bit there to be honest.
I think we were always in the game. Whenever you get 180 you should at least give it a good crack at defending it and it’s disappointing. There are quite a few things we have got wrong there in the field and with the ball. Not been disciplined yet again.
That’s been the story of our season a little bit. I just hope we find some consistency with our final group game and into that semi-final.
Do bonus points affect your thinking?
We knew we had to kill the game by the 16th over and it does change how you can look at controlling the game. It potentially took a little bit away from trying to win the game at the end of the day.