Marizanne Kapp stars again as Oval Invincibles retain Hundred title


Oval Invincibles 105 for 5 (Kapp 37*) beat Southern Brave 101 for 7 (Dunkley 26, Ismail 2-12) by five wickets

Oval Invincibles defended their Hundred title thanks to Marizanne Kapp‘s nerveless, unbeaten innings of 37 off 33 to steer them past Southern Brave in a rematch of last year’s final.

After choosing to bat first, Brave collapsed from 83 for 2 after 74 balls to post just 101 for 7, struggling to find any impetus on a tricky, two-paced pitch in front of a 20,840 crowd at Lord’s.

Invincibles lost regular wickets in the chase but for the second final in a row, Kapp was the matchwinner – this time, with the bat. Coming in at 33 for 2 – which quickly became 33 for 3 – she marshalled their inexperienced middle order and dragged them over the line with six balls to spare.

“The way Marizanne batted under pressure was just awesome,” Suzie Bates, Invincibles’ captain, said. “She’s one of the best allrounders in the world and today she showed why: under pressure, she’s even better.

“Our bowling group did an outstanding job to keep them to that score. It was always going to be a nervy chase but it’s brilliant to have young players perform.”

Slow and steady
Southern Brave’s success has been characterised by attacking batting, with the depth of their lineup allowing Danni Wyatt and Smriti Mandhana licence to go hard at the top of the order, particularly during the powerplay.

They made a bright start on a slow pitch: Mandhana, who missed last year’s final, pierced the infield with a crisp cover drive to the second ball of the innings, and Sophia Smale’s second set – the last five balls of the powerplay – was clearly targeted as Wyatt crashed consecutive fours through the off side and Mandhana lofted over the leg side.

Both openers were caught and bowled. Shabnim Ismail removed Wyatt, settling under a difficult chance after cranking the pace up to 78mph with a hard-length ball that skewed up into the covers, and Mandhana miscued back to Smale to leave Brave 39 for 2 after 39 balls.

Sophia Dunkley and Tahlia McGrath, the engine room of Brave’s batting, set about the rebuild and batted with plenty of attacking intent, but generally struggled to find gaps. At 74 for 2 with 30 balls remaining, they needed to launch at the back end.

Invincibles fight back
Dunkley and McGrath exchanged boundaries when Invincibles brought Eva Gray, their sixth bowler, into the attack, but when McGrath fell to the final ball of her first set, it sparked a collapse that proved defining.

They failed to score a boundary in the final 26 balls of the innings and added only 18 runs for the loss of five wickets in that phase. Maia Bouchier, their designated finisher, was starved of the strike and finished 9 not out off 11 balls.

Invincibles were brilliant at the death, squeezing hard. Alice Capsey took 2 for 6 across a set of 10 consecutive balls, split across both ends: Dunkley edged through to Lauren Winfield-Hill, who took a smart catch, and Georgia Adams was caught at deep midwicket. Ismail rearranged Freya Kemp’s stumps, and Amanda-Jade Wellington miscued Kapp to mid-off.

Wasteful Brave
Invincibles have relied heavily on their opening pair, Winfield-Hill and Bates, throughout this season but lost both for single-figure scores in the final: Winfield-Hill was stumped by Carla Rudd’s lightning-fast hands off Anya Shrubsole, and Bates inside-edged Wellington onto her own stumps via her pad.

Brave needed regular wickets to stand a chance, but were profligate in the field: Capsey was dropped twice, by Shrubsole and Mandhana, during her cameo of 25 off 17, and several misfields allowed Invincibles to build partnerships without worrying about the required rate mounting.

Kapp’s star turn
Kapp has turned big-game performances into a habit: she took 4 for 9 in the Hundred’s inaugural final and won the match award in the WBBL final at the end of last year for Perth Scorchers, and Invincibles were always favourites as long as she stayed in.

Back-to-back boundaries off Wellington, the season’s leading wicket-taker, got her up and running before she punished Shrubsole for straying in line, and she survived a number of scares when beaten on the inside edge.

Mady Villiers and Kira Chathli both fell cheaply but Emily Windsor, the 24-year-old batter in her first innings of the season, held her nerve at the end. She charged Wellington’s penultimate ball, pumping her back over her head for four, and after Kapp had slashed McGrath through the off side, Windsor did the same to seal the game.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” Kapp said. “You’re always nervous in finals and the wicket was really tough, but luckily we got across the line.”

Brave have only lost three games across both seasons of the women’s Hundred, but two of them have been in finals. As Invincibles lifted the trophy, they were left to reflect on a second successive near-miss.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.