Jemimah Rodrigues struck another stupendous half century. © Getty Images

Jemimah Rodrigues scored a scintillating ton and remained unbeaten on 112 to take Yorkshire Diamonds home to a four-wicket victory against Southern Vipers in York on Sunday (August 25). Rodrigues held her nerve and batted superbly in what was the highest total chased down in the 2019 edition of Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL). However, the Diamonds needed a bonus-point win to harbour hopes of a top-three finish, which wasn’t to be. Vipers nail the third spot and qualify for the finals day.

In the final over of the innings, 10 were required off six balls and it was a repeat of the showdown of their previous clash on Wednesday (August 21) – Suzie Bates vs Rodrigues and this time it was the diminutive right-hander, who had won the battle.

Chasing 185, Diamonds needed a fiery start like their counterparts. That was not to be as Lauren Winfield departed as early as the second ball of the innings for a duck to Tash Farrant. In a bold move, Diamonds sent their in-form player Rodrigues at number three and that proved to be a masterstroke.

She and the star of the last match, Alyssa Healy, kept scoring boundaries and were looking set to take the chase deep. As has been the case so far in this WCSL, Healy again departed for a promising 22 off 16. As predicted, it was Farrant who dismissed her in the fourth over.

Rodrigues ensured there was no further wicket in the power play as she, in the company of Hollie Armitage, ended the phase with 47 runs on board.

Rodrigues carried her form from the last match as she briskly moved to 29 runs in just 16 balls at the end of eight overs. Armitage found her groove, too, as the duo kept the scoreboard ticking. Within no time, the pair brought up their fifty-run association with Rodrigues doing the bulk of the scoring and looking set to reach her second WCSL fifty. She took a special liking to Suzie Bates in the ninth over as 16 runs were scored off it. Between the sixth and the tenth over, 51 runs were scored and Diamonds were right there in the game.

Rodrigues eventually brought up her fifty in just 26 balls, and also brought down the required rate to nine runs per over – with 72 runs needed off 48 balls. Armitage at the other end ensured her partner got enough strike.

Vipers finally had something to cheer about in the 13th over as Wellington struck twice to first send back Armitage (23 off 27) and then remove Bess Heath for a duck. Vipers kept storming back onto the match as Fi Morris dismissed Davidson-Richards for a blob. Diamonds seemed to lose their way as three wickets fell for three runs in the space of just eight balls.

The pressure and run-rate kept mounting on Diamonds as Rodrigues was the only one left among the recognised batters. The required rate swelled to over 10 and a half runs per over as 53 runs were needed off 30 balls. The 18-year-old, hitting the ball as cleanly as ever, was not ready to go down without a fight as she scored 15 runs off Morris in the 16th over.

With 36 needed off the last four overs, 19 runs came off the next two overs, Rodrigues expectedly taking most of the strike. She eventually brought up her ton in just 51 balls – the fastest in the history of the tournament – as Diamonds needed 15 off 9.

They were then left needing 10 off the final over, where Diamonds and Rodrigues didn’t falter against Bates this time round.

Earlier, Diamonds missed a trick by inserting Southern Vipers in as the two opening batters – Danielle Wyatt and Bates raced to 49 in just 29 balls – Wyatt scoring 42 of those in just 20 balls, before falling to Leigh Kasperek. Some players carry an aura of invincibility when they score runs, Wyatt certainly does so. She was harsh on Beth Langston as she carted her for 18 runs in the third over of the innings. Wyatt was all set to sore her fifth WCSL fifty before she was sent back.

That was the only wicket Diamonds had till the 15th over as Bates and skipper Tammy Beaumont cashed in on the start provided by Wyatt. The duo added 76 runs without taking too many risks. Bates, although relatively slow, ensured that runs kept ticking along.

Diamonds finally saw the back of Beaumont on 33 (29 balls) and soon dismissed Bates for 47 off 39 to come back strongly in the match. Alice Davidson-Richards dismissed both the batters to give Diamonds a fair chance to restrict Vipers to 160.

Maia Bouchier and Amanda Wellington had other plans as they put on a batting show and took the score past 180. The former scored 23 runs off just 13 balls while the latter scored 24 runs off just 12 balls – both staying unbeaten – to boost the score to 184. The last two overs yielded 29 runs and it seemed as if the momentum was in favour of Vipers.

Davidson-Richards was the pick of the bowler for Diamonds as she finished with figures 3 for 21.

Brief Scores: Southern Vipers 184/4 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 47, Danielle Wyatt 42; Alice Davidson-Richards 3-21) lost to Yorkshire Diamonds 185/6 in 20 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 112*, Hollie Armitage 23; Tash Farrant 2-27, Amanda Wellington 2-31) by four wickets.