Southern Vipers v Northern Diamonds
Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Day, Semi-final Eliminator
Sunday September 5, 2021, 12pm
Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Toss: Northern Diamonds won it and elected to bat.
Teams: Northern Diamonds - Heath w, Dobson, Kalis, Winfield-Hill, Armitage c, Gunn, Smith, Hopkins, MacDonald, Slater, Levick.
Southern Vipers - Adams c, McCaughan, Elwiss, Scholfield, Windsor, Norris, Rudd w, Monaghan, Bell, Taylor, Chandler.
Match summary: England stars present and past shone as the Northern Diamonds qualified for this afternoon’s Charlotte Edwards Cup final, beating the team Edwards coaches in the semi-final, the Southern Vipers.
Lauren Winfield-Hill hit 65 and Jenny Gunn 22 not out as the Diamonds posted 135-6 before four wickets for the latter ensured a routine defence and set up a final with South East Stars.
The Vipers finished 117 all out, and this was revenge for the Diamonds for last September’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final defeat at Edgbaston.
Report: Lauren Winfield-Hill’s brilliant half-century, backed up by the all-round heroics of Jenny Gunn, put the Diamonds one game away from a first piece of silverware as a region.
Winfield-Hill’s 65 off 49 balls from number four was the linchpin innings in 135-6 before the Vipers, who beat the Diamonds in last year’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final, got into a hole chasing and were unable to dig themselves out.
Gunn claimed 4-26 from four overs in 117 all out.
On a hybrid pitch, playing on the slow side, Vipers fell from 29-0 to 41-3 and later 75-5 in the 15th over against an attack which believes it can defend any target and playfully dubs itself “world-class” given the quality and varied options available.
The Diamonds were plunged into some early trouble with the loss of openers Leah Dobson, run out by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end from mid-off, and Bess Heath bowled by Lauren Bell, leaving the score at 16-2.
But Winfield-Hill calmly led the revival with the help of captain Hollie Armitage (25). They shared 59 for the third wicket.
By the time she reached her fifty off 41 balls, including four fours, the Diamonds were 99-4 in the 17th over.
And shortly afterwards, she hammered Georgia Adams’ off-spin down the ground for the first of three sixes in the last three overs of the innings.
Bell was the pick of the Vipers attack with 1-15 from her four overs. Five of their six bowlers all claimed a wicket.
When Winfield-Hill was bowled trying to attack Adams, the Vipers were marginally ahead with their visitors 114-5 after 17.5 overs.
But 20 runs off the last two overs, including 16 off the last, really gave the Diamonds valuable momentum.
Gunn crashed successive leg-side sixes off the left-arm seam of Tara Norris.
The Vipers’ chase then got off to a bright start at 24-0 after four overs.
But then things unravelled for them, losing 3-12 in three overs.
Opener Ella McCaughan was stumped off Rachel Slater’s left-arm seam - the batter jamming the ball into her foot and losing her bearings as Heath did the rest - 29-1 in the fifth.
In the next over, Adams miscued a pull at Gunn to short mid-wicket before an Alex MacDonald slower ball did for Paige Scholfield - bowled - and left the score at 41-3 in the eighth.
Vipers reached 10 overs at 54-3, needing 82 more with Georgia Elwiss and Emily Windsor at the crease.
Vipers went seven overs without a boundary from midway through the eighth to midway through the 15th.
In the 18th over, Gunn all but put the final nail in the Vipers coffin by trapping Alice Monaghan lbw and bowling Bell with successive deliveries - 99-7.
Windsor’s 32 was nothing but consolatory and Gunn returned to defend 25 off the last, getting Carla Rudd caught at deep mid-wicket off the last ball of the match.
Linsey Smith also returned a superb 2-18 from her four overs, including a sharp caught and bowled chance.
Turning point: The 59-run partnership in eight overs between Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage, which recovered the Diamonds from early bother at 16-2 in the fifth over. Winfield-Hill led the way, with the pair setting the platform for some fireworks later on.
Magic moment: Jenny Gunn hit two sixes in two balls in the final over of the Diamonds innings, off Tara Norris, to really boost the Diamonds score. The first was over long-on, the second over mid-wicket.
Stat: Hollie Armitage, with 25, picked the ideal time to post her highest score of a frustrating season so far - in either format.
What’s next: It’s the final within the hour. South East Stars are the opponents at 4pm.