Matthews headlines Fire’s clinical chase; Davidson-Richards stars in an improbable win for Superchargers

Hayley Matthews (L) Alice Davidson-Richards © Getty Images

Hayley Matthews converted her start to play a measured knock to headline the Welsh Fire’s chase as they registered their first win of The Hundred when they defeated Manchester Originals in Cardiff on Saturday (July 31). In the second match of the day, Alice Davidson-Richards starred with an allround performance to help Northern Superchargers to defend a moderate total against Oval Invincibles in Leeds.

In the first match in Cardiff, chasing 121 to win, Matthews started with a four over the head of Alex Hartley in the first set before repeating the feat against Kate Cross at the start of the next set and added one more boundary through the leg-side in the next ball.

Despite losing Bryony Smith cheaply and Sophie Ecclestone keeping it tight in the final set of the power play, Matthews kept going for her shots with some eye-catching stroke play through the off-side. The West Indian found a good company in Georgia Redmayne as the duo took down Originals bowling attack. Redmayne cut Emma Lamb for her first four while Matthews pulled the off-spinner for a boundary to kick start the partnership.

Even as Cross and Hartley bowled back-to-back tight set of fives, next set from Laura Jackson opened the floodgates with Redmayne adding another four while Matthews launched the seamer over extra cover for a maximum. From there, Matthews was in her elements as she smashed Hartley for a couple of four in the next set and a single off Cross brought her first fifty in the format from 35 balls.

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Once Ecclestone was bowled out, with a flurry of boundaries both batters made light of the chase as they eventually finished with the first century partnership of the tournament and Matthews signed off the game in style with consecutive boundaries off Cross. She remained unbeaten on 71 off 50 balls while Redmayne did the supporting role to perfection with her 38 not out off 35 balls.

Put into bat, Originals had a chaotic start with Lizelle Lee smashing the first two balls for four before losing her wicket thanks to a mix-up in the middle with fellow opener Lamb. Lee’s wicket brought their innings to a halt and Originals struggled to find anymore boundaries in the power play and soon they lost Lamb to Smith.

From there, Harmanpreet Kaur and Georgie Boyce took their time and third boundary of the innings came only on the 37th ball with Kaur sweeping Hannah Baker for a four. At the half-way stage Originals could reach only 43 with the loss of the openers.

However, Boyce’s dismissal to a good catch by Redmayne at point brought Mignon du Preez to the crease and she provided the innings with much needed impetus even as Kaur continued to struggle. The South African started with a four through cover before adding another one with a hard sweep off Nicole Harvey. The duo added 31 runs before Kaur was caught at point by Redmayne for 26 off 32 balls.

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Batting at number six, Ecclestone started aggressively hitting Matthews for a couple of fours before launching Georgia Hennessy over deep square-leg. Although Originals lost du Preez to Hennessy in the same set, two more fours by Ecclestone in the last two balls took them to 120 for six from the stipulated 100 balls. She finished unbeaten on 31 off 15 balls.

For Fire, Hennessy finished with figures of two for 24 from her 20 balls while Smith, Matthews and Alex Griffiths took one wicket each.

Over in Leeds, Superchargers survived some anxious moments with Davidson-Richards defending nine runs in the last set giving away only five runs against Dane van Niekerk and Sarah Bryce to pull off an improbable win. Earlier, despite the absence of Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail, Invincibles restricted Superchargers to a total of 109 for eight.

Chasing a moderate total, Invincibles lost Capsey early as Davidson-Richards had her caught by Phoebe Graham despite a collision at point for just eight. Georgia Adams looked good at the other end during her knock of 26 as she took on Katie Levick for a couple of hits to the fence. But the leg-spinner had the last laugh when she dismissed Adams in the 48th ball of the chase.

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Needing 62 runs from the second half, Invincibles lost a good-looking Fran Wilson soon after she and Bryce got a boundary each when Wilson found Laura Kimmince at mid-off off Linsey Smith. Once again it was down to skipper van Niekerk to try and take Invincibles home with Bryce in company at the other end.

However, Elizabeth Russell bowled a tight set to restrict the Invincibles pair from going for the big shots to leave Invincibles needing 31 from the last 20 balls. Levick followed it up another frugal set giving away only four off her last five. It was getting increasingly frustrating for the Oval side as they couldn’t find any boundaries from the next five either.

In the penultimate set, van Niekerk smashed Smith for three consecutive boundaries – twice over the bowlers head and another through off side – to reduce the  target to ten from the last set and it eventually came down to Davidson-Richards’ poise in tense moments.

Put into bat, Jemimah Rodrigues once again looked on the money for Superchargers with three early boundaries but was caught behind by Bryce for 14 when she tried to cut Mady Villiers in the 13th ball of the innings. With in-form Rodrigues gone, they struggled to get the scorecard moving and could reach only 28 from 30 balls before they lost Lauren Winfield-Hill for just four.

From there, Laura Wolvaardt and Davidson-Richards tried to steady the ship with a 38-run partnership. The duo started with attacking van Niekerk to add two boundaries to the score before repeating the feat against Danielle Gregory to take the score to 57 at the halfway mark.

Capsey, who kept it tight in her first two sets, struck twice in her third to remove Wolvaardt for 28 and Bess Heath for a duck to reduce Superchargers to 66 for four. The Northern side soon found themselves in further trouble losing two more wickets with the score reaching only 78 in 75 balls.

However, Davidson-Richards played some impressive shots to take the score over the three-figure mark before her dismissal by Natasha Farrant saw the innings finish at 109 for eight from their 100 balls.

For Invincibles, four bowlers took two wickets each as Capsey finished with the best figures among them giving away only nine runs from her four sets.

Brief Scores

Manchester Originals 120/6 in 100 balls (Sophie Ecclestone 31*; Georgia Hennessy 2/24) lost to Welsh Fire 124/1 in 88 balls (Hayley Matthews 71*, Georgia Redmayne 38*) by 9 wickets. POTM: Hayley Matthews

Northern Superchargers 109/8 in 100 balls (Alice Davidson-Richards 42; Alice Capsey 2/9) beat Oval Invincibles 105/4 in 100 balls (Sarah Bryce 29, Dane van Niekerk 27*; Alice Davidson-Richards 2/17) by four runs. POTM: Alice Davidson-Richards