Date: 25 August 2019
Venue: York Cricket Club
Momentum is the keyword when you play sport at any level. It can be good as well as bad. Peaking at the right time is vital in high-pressure tournaments. In the final edition of Women's Cricket Super League, two teams - Yorkshire Diamonds and Southern Vipers - who can claim to be peaking at the right time, will want to now seize the momentum.
Barring the defeat to Vipers in a close game, Diamonds have won a good couple of matches. Their foreign players, Jemimah Rodrigues and Alyssa Healy, have finally come to the party. Rodrigues has been their crunch player in the last four games. She has found some form after a quiet start to the tournament. Healy stroked 77 off 38 balls in their last game against Thunder, finally staying at the crease long enough to show how good a touch she is in.
Their bowlers have also been good at restricting the opposition to mid-130s. The previous game against Thunder was the only exception, when they leaked 164 runs. Leading the way are Leigh Kasperek and Linsey Smith, who have managed to strike at regular intervals without giving away too many runs.
A win for Diamonds, however, will not suffice to cement the third spot. They need to win with a bonus points in both their outings to surpass Vipers.
On the other hand, Vipers are on roll and this success can be attributed to Danielle Wyatt's form in their last three matches. Wyatt is having a dream run after that blistering ton and has notched up scores 59 and 56 thereafter. She has single-handedly carried her team's batting on her shoulders and is not shying away from playing shots either. Players like Tammy Beaumont, Suzie Bates and Maia Bouchier have been largely quiet and it would be interesting to see if Wyatt's confidence rubs off on them and they start scoring the runs in the remaining games.
The bowling looks solid with Tash Farrant leading the way with 10 wickets. She is supported by Stafanie Taylor and Amanda Wellington, who have eight and seven wickets respectively.
It is the battle between the third and fourth-placed teams in the points table. Southern Vipers are ahead by 10 points. Diamonds' fortune depends on other teams' performances while Vipers' fate is in their own hands.
It is hard to look past Rodrigues as she has taken it upon herself to close out the games for her Diamonds. Initially slow to begin with, the runs have now started to flow off her blade. She is pivotal for the team if they want to secure bonus point wins. On Friday (22 August), Rodrigues remained unbeaten on 41 and smoked four boundaries off the penultimate over against Thunder to take her side over the line. It would be interesting to see how Vipers will stop the diminutive right-hander.
Often bowlers go unnoticed in the shortest format of the game as the batters hog the majority of the limelight. In the final edition of WCSL, there are a few bowlers who are leading way for their respective teams. One of those is Farrant, who has been the lynchpin of the bowling attack for Vipers. With 10 wickets and an economy rate less than six runs per over, Farrant has been difficult to get away. With the tournament at a crucial stage she will be the key in determining the outcome of Vipers' remaining matches. Her duel with Healy will be one to watch.
It is an afternoon game in York. The weather is forecast to be bright and sunny. The previous match in this season at this venue was won by the team batting second. So will the captain winning the toss choose to chase?
Yorkshire Diamonds: Lauren Winfield (c), Katherine Brunt, Alice Davidson-Richards, Katie George, Linsey Smith, Hollie Armitage, Georgia Davis, Helen Fenby, Cordelia Griffith, Bess Heath, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Alyssa Healy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Leigh Kasperek.
Southern Vipers: Tammy Beaumont (c), Dani Wyatt, Tash Farrant, Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor, Amanda Wellington, Charlie Dean, Maia Bouchier, Lauren Bell, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Thea Brookes, Marie Kelly, Issy Wong, Fi Morris.