Taylor, Matthews shine as Welsh Fire secure much-needed victory against Oval Invincibles
Oval Invincibles could not shake off the demons of the previous close encounter against Northern Superchargers as they yet again failed to chase the below-par total against the fired-up fielding and bowling unit of the Welsh Fire, losing their first home game by 12 runs on Monday (August 02)
Invincibles captain Dane van Niekerk, still playing without the South African stars Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail won the toss and invited Welsh Fire to bat first at the Oval. After a struggling start in the first ten balls, Bryony Smith had to go back to the pavilion as a result of the thick outside edge off Mady Villiers with wicketkeeper Sarah Bryce taking a sharp catch.
After that early blow, overseas players Hayley Matthews and Georgia Redmayne helped Wesh Fire to go through the power play without any additional hiccup. The left-hand and right-hand combination batted well, even though the lack of conversation led to multiple run-out opportunities at both ends. Van Niekerk brought herself in to break the partnership of 47 runs as the inside edge onto the stumps saw the end of Matthews. Welsh Fire slipped to two for 52 before the halfway mark.
Redmayne then found a partner in Sarah Taylor but, some excellent work in the field by the Invincibles on their home ground meant Welsh Fire had to struggle for the runs. That sharp fielding work was highlighted when a bullet throw from Grace Gibbs and handy work yet again by Bryce behind the stumps led to Redmayne’s run out.
Invincibles had a straightforward opportunity to send back Sarah Taylor in the next set but, the young Alice Capsey dropped an easy catch at long-on. Capsey later got Taylor with a ball as Villiers took a great running catch at the deep, but not before the veteran treated the Oval crowd with some trademark reverse sweeps. The Fire could only add eight runs in the final 10 balls, ending their innings with a sub-par 112 for six.
In reply, Oval Invincibles lost Georgia Adams in the very first set to a run-out that was a result of some handy glovework from Taylor. Gibbs and Capsey then took charge of the chase as they added 28 runs before the end of the powerplay with later being the aggressor among the two as she hit West Indies international Matthews for 11 runs. The pair looked primed for a long partnership, but Nicole Harvey ended the promising partnership of 34 runs by cleaning up Capsey’s stumps.
Gibbs was next to fall as she was trapped leg-before by the 17-year-old Hannah Baker – a ball that would have eventually hit the middle stump. Fran Wilson and van Niekerk had to find something for their side to avoid the second consecutive loss, but the mounting dot ball pressure made things worse for them. Van Niekerk tried to break the shackles, pulling Harvey toward the leg-side boundary, but Katie George took a fantastic diving catch to dismiss the opposition captain.
At four for 65 and needing 48 runs from 28 balls, Oval Invincibles lost five wickets for just 35 runs as Matthews took two wickets in her final set of five with support from Smith and Piepa Cleary. The lack of partnerships in the middle for the hosts along with some exceptional fielding from the visitors meant that the Invincibles finished with 100 runs for nine, losing the match by 12 runs.
Welsh Fire 112/6 in 100 balls (Georgia Redmayne 30, Sarah Taylor 29, Dane van Niekerk 1/10) beat Oval Invincibles 100/9 in 100 balls (Grace Gibbs 21, Fran Wilson 20, Hayley Matthews 3/23) by 12 runs.