|Women’s Hundred, Kia Oval
|Welsh Fire 112-6 (100 balls): Redmayne 30 (29), Taylor 29 (24)
|Oval Invincibles 100-9 (100 balls): Gibbs 21 (22), Matthews 3-23
|Welsh Fire won by 12 runs
Welsh Fire strangled Oval Invincibles with a brilliant bowling performance at The Oval, to earn back-to-back victories in the women’s Hundred.
Fire struggled for fluency during their innings, hitting only eight boundaries, as they stuttered to 112-6 with Georgia Redmayne making 30 and Sarah Taylor 29.
In reply Invincibles were never able to get going thanks to disciplined bowling and some excellent catching and finished 100-9, 12 runs adrift.
Fire, who started their competition with back-to-back defeats, are fourth in the eight-team table, while Invincibles sit third.
The same two teams meet in the men’s competition at 18:30 BST, with both looking to recover from defeats on Saturday.
‘You’ll be seeing that on social media in a bit’
At the interval most people would have thought 112 wouldn’t be enough for the Fire, but it was.
Why? A brilliant, disciplined bowling and fielding performance.
Four of their bowlers – Piepa Cleary, Georgia Hennessy, Nicole Harvey and Hannah Baker – all went at less than a run a ball, and Bryony Smith and Hayley Matthews, who conceded 24 and 23 from their 20 balls respectively, chipped in with four wickets.
They were ably supported in the field, with Taylor sweeping the ball behind her back to complete a run out of Georgia Adams after just three balls, while Katie George took three catches.
One of them was superb. The dangerous Dane van Niekerk – who had already guided Invincibles over the line in their first game against Manchester Originals – looked to slog sweep, and George hurtled in from the mid-wicket boundary, dived forward at full stretch, and took a sensational catch, low to the ground.
Southern Brave bowler Tymal Mills, who was part of the BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra team, said: “You’ll be seeing that on social media in a bit, that’s for sure.”
Keep an eye out!
The win leaves the women’s table concertinaed towards the top with the unbeaten Southern Brave leading on eight points, before Northern Superchargers on seven, and then three teams on four points.
Taylor finds rhythm with bat
The return of Taylor for this tournament excited many.
She is a modern-day great, particularly with the gloves, and her retirement in September 2019 due to an ongoing battle with anxiety left many disappointed.
Her return for this tournament is significant, and showed the magnitude and draw of the competition to players.
In her previous two matches, she hadn’t quite fired with the bat, scoring 19 runs in two innings, but we had seen some trademark nifty glovework to dismiss Danni Wyatt and run out Lizelle Lee.
In this game, the 30-year-old was given a life on 12, when 16-year-old Alice Capsey dropped her at long-on, and she began to capitalise with a couple of reverse flicks through point, that were called “beautiful” and “unbelievable” by Alison Mitchell and Middlesex all-rounder Chris Green on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
She eventually holed out to deep mid-wicket for 29, but the glimpse of form will encourage Welsh Fire as they plot their path to the top three and a place in the knockout stages.
While it is great to see Taylor back and playing these shots, and taking these catches, there is one thing that is even better: the smile on her face while doing it.