In the first match, at Trent Bridge, Southern Brave were three for 14 after being invited to bat first by Rockets captain Natalie Sciver. Indian star Smriti Mandha was first to go courtesy of a brilliant catch at deep midwicket by Michaela Kirk off Sammy-Jo Johnson’s bowling. Next, Sophia Dunkley was run out by a handy work at mid-off by Sarah Glenn as Kathryn Bryce quickly whipped the bails off. A strange shot selection led to the downfall of Danielle Wyatt before the end of the powerplay.
From the precarious position of three for 17, at the end of the powerplay, experienced campaigner Taylor partnered with Maia Bouchier to get some momentum going for the Brave. She even slog-swept a full and straight delivery from Sarah Glenn over deep midwicket. Taylor was motoring along nicely but lost Bouchier and Amanda-Jade Wellington in quick succession, and after 55 balls, Southern Brave were sinking at five for 57.
In walked skipper Anya Shrubsole at seven. She was watchful in the beginning but went after her compatriots in Sciver and Katherine Brunt once she got settled. She provided much-needed support to Taylor and their unbeaten partnership of 76 runs came off in just 45 balls. Both Taylor and Shrubsole took advantage of some sloppy death bowling by the Rockets and amassed 30 runs off the last 15 balls to finish at five for 133.
Rockets needed a good start to chase down this formidable total but, Shrusole struck with her fourth ball of the innings as Rachel Priest’s mistimed slog ended up at mid-on where alert Mandhana pouched it. Johnson was next to follow as Taylor took a simple catch at mid-wicket off Lauren Bell’s pitched up delivery. Rockets slipped to two for nine with only eight balls on the board.
Sciver then found a partner in Brunt as the England duo navigated through the powerplay without losing any further wicket. In-form Sciver hit three back-to-back fours against Tara Norris to get herself going. The introduction of leg spinner Wellington frustrated the duo as she bowled the first maiden set of The Hundred, which further slowed the chase for Rockets. And it looked beyond their reach once Sciver (44) and Brunt (22) were sent back to the dugout within three balls.
Miserly Wellington came back for another spell of 10 and Rockets batters could not find any runs against her. With 52 needed off the last 20 balls, Graham went on an attacking spree against Morris and Bell but it was too little too late for the Rockets. Shrubsole came for the last set of five and struck thrice to bury the Rockets to seven for 110 leading Southern Brave to a victory by 23 runs.
For the second encounter of the day at Headingley, Northern Superchargers invited Welsh Fire to bat first. It looked like a wrong choice as Fire opener Bryony Smith went after Phoebe Graham for 16 runs off her first set of five. After this early scare Superchargers captain, Lauren Winfield-Hill brought leg spinner Katie Levick to the attack and she immediately removed Smith with help from Laura Wolvaardt’s well-judged catch at long-on.
The other opener in Hayley Matthews took the charge of the batting as she went after Alice Davidson-Richards to score 18 off 10 balls. Levick was once again brought back to break the partnership of 22 runs between her and Alice Macleod and she delivered immediately with the wicket of the latter. Davidson-Richards finally got rid of Matthews (30) just before the halfway mark but Superchargers were marching with three for 79.
Continuous fall of wickets and some tight bowling by Levick and Linsey Smith meant Welsh Fire could only manage to score 51 runs in the second half of their batting innings. Overseas player Georgia Redmayne and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor were not able to capitalise on a good start provided by their openers and the Fire innings was wrapped up for eight for 130 by the end of the 100 ball innings.
In reply, the Superchargers innings started with the worst possible start as they lost Winfield-Hill to a second-ball duck when Georgia Hennessy took the simplest catch at mid-off. South African international Wolvaardt followed the suite as Taylor completed a lightning-fast runout off a throw from Redmayne. Wickets of Hollie Armitage and Bess Heath meant Superchargers were four for 19 before the end of the powerplay.
Jemimah Rodrigues who played only three balls when this carnage was happening at the other end, started the rebuilding of Superchargers innings with a lovely sweep behind the square. She hit her first six of the innings hitting straight over long-off against Bryony Smith. She batted for just 43 deliveries and brought up the highest individual score of 92 in the competition, which included 17 fours and a massive six.
Rodrigues put out the first evet partnership of 100+ runs in the competition with Davidson-Richards. Such was the ferocity of her knock that, out of those 112 runs Davidson-Richards’s contribution was only 23 runs. From the precarious position of four for 19 Rodrigues single-handedly brought the Northern Superchargers home with 15 balls and six wickets remaining in the chase.
Southern Brave 133/5 in 100 Balls (Stafanie Taylor 45*, Anya Shrubsole 40*; Natalie Sciver 2/33) beat Trent Rockets 110/7 in 100 Balls (Natalie Sciver 44, Heather Graham 24; Anya Shrubsole 4/13) by 23 runs.
Welsh Fire: 130/8 in 100 Balls (Hayley Matthews 30, Sarah Taylor 18; Linsey Smith 3/14) lost to Northern Superchargers: 131/4 in 85 Balls (Jemimah Rodrigues 92*, Alice Davidson-Richards 23*; Piepa Cleary 1/14) by six wickets