Report: Oval Invincibles v Birmingham Phoenix Women
Teenager Alice Capsey’s devastating bowling display led Oval Invincibles to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Birmingham Phoenix at the Kia Oval in a repeat of last year’s Eliminator.
Capsey recorded Invincibles’ best figures of the competition so far, taking three for 15 as the home side reigned victorious in overcast conditions in the capital.
Seeking revenge for their loss in last season’s Eliminator, Phoenix set 106 to win, which the home side made light work of. Ferocious hitting from Lauren Winfield-Hill (41), Dane van Niekerk (21) and Capsey (20) saw Invincibles cruise home with 13 balls to spare.
Phoenix should have been full of confidence having secured three wins from their opening three games, but they looked completely shaken by the impressive Invincibles’ bowling attack.
The sheer pace of Shabnim Ismail and the sensational spin of Sophia Smale proved too much for the Phoenix top-order to handle in the powerplay, with just 27 runs coming from the opening 30 balls.
Welsh superstar Smale has had a fantastic tournament so far and continued to impress by dismissing Phoenix skipper Sophie Devine with an exceptional catch off her own bowling.
Phoenix were unable to pick up any momentum, and frugal Invincibles bowling – led by teenage duo Smale and Capsey – kept the rate below a run-a-ball for much of the innings.
Amy Jones has been in sumptuous form for Phoenix so far this season but never got going, meandering her way to 18 before she departed to Capsey.
The dangerous Ellyse Perry was not able to lift the rate either and she scored just 10 runs before being bowled by Mady Villiers. Evie Jones was the pick of the Phoenix batters scoring a run-a-ball 29, but she fell to Capsey just two balls later.
A cameo from Emily Arlott (15 off 11) lifted Phoenix above the 100 mark, but it seemed like a below-par total for the away side.
In reply, Invincibles looked like they wanted to get the game finished quickly.
Big-hitting Kiwi Suzie Bates smashed consecutive fours off Issy Wong. She hit a further two boundaries to delight the home crowd before departing for 17.
Winfield-Hill picked up where Bates left off, hitting Sophie Molineux for four and then following it with a mighty six in the same set.
The destructive Capsey then joined the party, smashing a six with her third delivery on the way to a quick-fire 20 off 18, before the 18-year-old departed to Emily Arlott.
Captain van Niekerk then entered the pitch, and having been controversially left out of the previous game, she looked determined to prove that selection decision was a mistake. Although she was fortunate not to be dismissed when Amy Jones missed what should have been a straightforward run out. The Invincibles skipper made Phoenix pay with consecutive fours off the next two deliveries.
Jones then gave van Niekerk another lifeline when she dropped a catch off the bowling of Arlott.
Meanwhile at the other end, Winfield-Hill continued to light up the Kia Oval with consecutive boundaries off Phoebe Franklin.
Winfield-Hill eventually finished on an unbeaten 41 and steered Invincibles to victory, who now sit second in the table, leapfrogging Phoenix on run-rate.
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