Southern Vipers trounce Central Sparks to bag Charlotte Edwards Cup 2022

Southern Vipers © Getty Images

Southern Vipers defeated Central Sparks by six wickets at the County Ground in Northampton to win the Charlotte Edwards Cup 2022 on Saturday, June 11. Vipers continued their invincible run in the final and were hardly tested by Sparks, who had earned their final berth by defeating defending champions South East Stars earlier in the day at the same venue.

Vipers outclass Sparks in the finale

The confidence gained from the win in the ‘Eliminator Final’ over Stars didn’t quite last long for Sparks as their batting failed miserably in the summit clash against Vipers.

Opting to bat first, Sparks tried to stamp their authority on the game upfront but their offensive approach backfired as Vipers’ bowling attack was up for the challenge. Skipper Eve Jones and star all-rounder Issy Wong, who had played a key role in helping Sparks win the ‘Eliminator Final’ earlier in the day failed to get going and weren’t able to bother the scorers at all.

After losing both openers with just 16 runs on the board, Sparks needed some stability, and a 39-run stand between wicket-keeper batter Amy Jones (27 from 23 balls) and Abigail Freeborn (18 runs off 23 balls) provided them with the same.

ALSO READ: How the Southern Vipers “brought Rachael back home”

But both Amy and Freeborn were forced to make their way back to the dugout as they attempted to break the shackles and perished in the process one after the other.

Deprived of boundaries, Sparks’ batters attempted to steal runs that were not really there and were run out while doing so. In a final where teams can’t afford to lose wickets as runouts, Sparks lost three of their batters in the same manner.

They eventually scored 109 for the loss of eight wickets in their 20 overs and fell way short of what could have been a winning score on the surface.

In pursuit of 110 to win the title clash, Vipers lost opener, Georgia Adams, for a duck. Wong picked up Adams’ wicket in the first over of the innings to lift the spirits of Sparks. But some healthy contributions from the willows of Danni Wyatt and Maia Bouchier dented their chances badly.

Wyatt scored a quickfire 20-run knock off just ten balls and helped Bouchier (32 runs off 25 balls) to play the anchor’s role well. Although Emily Arlott dismissed both batters before they could cut loose, it was too little too late.

A watchful and unbeaten run-a-ball 30* from Ella McCaughan sealed the win in Vipers’ favour ultimately as the reigning Rachael Heyhoe Flint champions romped home with six wickets and 25 balls to spare.

Sparks trump Stars to enter summit clash 

Earlier in the day, Sparks defeated Stars in the ‘Eliminator Final’ to reach the summit clash against Vipers at the County Ground in Northampton. The decision to bat first after winning the toss didn’t quite go Stars’ way as their top-order collapsed. Both openers Bryony Smith and Aylish Cranstone got out without troubling the scorers. 

The biggest setback for Stars turned out to be Sophia Dunkley’s wicket when she failed to clear mid-on and got caught in the second over in search of a boundary. 

Wong and Grace Potts turned out to be too good for the Stars’ batting order as they bowled in the right areas in tandem. They didn’t provide any freebies to Stars’ batters and sucked the life out of their innings. While Wong finished with two for eight in her four-over spell, Potts emerged as the pick of the Sparks’ bowling line-up with three for 20 in her four overs.

It looked as if Stars will fold pretty quickly but the duo of Alice Davidson-Richards and Kalea Moore dug in and propelled their side to a respectable total in the form of 104 for the loss of eight wickets.

Chasing 105 for victory, skipper Eve and Wong got Sparks off to a flyer as they put up 34 runs in just 3.1 overs. It looked like the duo was going to finish it early but just then Moore dismissed Wong to bring Stars back in the hunt. 

In walked wicket-keeper batter Amy and added 25 runs with skipper Eve before getting out to Smith at an individual score of 17 on the last delivery of the seventh over. Two deliveries later, Stars got the breakthrough that they were looking for desperately as Danielle Gregory removed Sparks’ skipper.

Stars’ captain Smith picked up three more scalps as Sparks stumbled from 59/3 in 7.2 overs to 98/8 in 17.4 overs. The game looked evenly poised but a valiant effort from Arlott with the bat (16* runs off 21 balls) eventually made the difference as Sparks trumped Stars to book a final berth.

Brief Scores: 

Central Sparks 109/8 in 20 overs (Amy Jones 27; Charlie Dean 2/19) lost to Southern Vipers 110/4 in 15.5 overs (Maia Bouchier 32; Emily Arlott 2/28) by six wickets

South East Stars 104/8 in 20 overs (Kalea Moore 34; Grace Potts 3/20) lost to Central Sparks 105/8 in 19.1 overs (Eve Jones 29; Bryony Smith 4/14) by two wickets