Birmingham, June 03, 2023, Charlotte Edwards Cup
(20 ov, T:143) 135/8

Sparks won by 7 runs


Fluent Amy Jones keeps Central Sparks hopes alive

Vipers keep control of their destiny despite Danni Wyatt's half-century going in vain

ECB Reporters Network
Amy Jones gets down to sweep  •  Getty Images

Amy Jones gets down to sweep  •  Getty Images

Central Sparks 142 for 9 (A Jones 45, Dean 3-27) beat Southern Vipers 135 for 8 (Wyatt 68, Ellis 4-29, Burns 3-26) by seven runs
Central Sparks retained their slender hopes of Charlotte Edwards Cup qualification with a thrilling seven-run victory win over Southern Vipers at Edgbaston.
Vipers looked well set to strengthen their qualification bid when they restricted their hosts to 142 for 9. Amy Jones scored a fluent 45 off 34 balls but no-one else stayed beyond the cameo stage against a disciplined attack led by the skilful off-spin of Charlie Dean, who took 3 for 27.
Defending that moderate total was a tough assignment for a Sparks attack missing Issy Wong, Grace Potts and Emily Arlott, but they held the Vipers to 135 for 8. Danni Wyatt made an accomplished 68 off 49 balls but Bethan Ellis took 4 for 29 and Erin Burns took 3 for 24 (all caught at deep mid-wicket) while real pressure was added by excellent spells from Ellie Anderson and Hannah Baker.
Sparks still need to win their remaining games and hope that other results go their way. Despite the setback, Vipers know that winning their last two fixtures would still send them through.
Sparks chose to bat and started at a gallop with 17 from the first over including three sumptuous cover-driven fours by Eve Jones off Lauren Bell. Eve and Amy Jones added 41 from 27 balls but the Vipers struck back hard with three wickets for five runs in nine balls.
Dean made the vital breakthrough when she flighted one beautifully into Eve Jones' stumps. Two balls later she bowled Davina Perrin through a cross-bat heave and Burns was then well-held at deep mid-wicket by Wyatt off Linsey Smith.
Dean delivered that T20 rarity, a maiden (her eighth in the format) and though Amy Jones batted with familiar elan, she perished in pursuit of a seventh four when she lifted Georgia Elwiss to mid off. Elwiss also ended a dangerous counter-attack by Abbey Freeborn when she hit middle stump. Katie George advanced to 17 from 14 balls but became Dean's third victim when she made room to cut and missed.
Ellis offered some late impetus, but the innings had faltered badly: 41 without loss from the first 27 balls then 101 for 9 from the next 93.
Vipers were given a perky start by the in-form Ella McCaughan before she was bowled through a slog at Anderson. Just as in Sparks' innings, the first wicket was quickly followed by two more as, in the space of four balls, Nicole Faltum and Georgia Adams were superbly held at deep mid-wicket by George off Burns.
That was 52 for 3 and a good-sized crowd really started to get behind Sparks. They were celebrating again when Ellis struck with her first ball, Elwiss slicing to backward point.
When Dean lifted Burns to deep mid-wicket, pressure was growing on Vipers who needed 60 from eight overs with half their wickets gone. Wyatt completed a classy, 34-ball half-century but when she fell to a fine catch at long on by Burns off Ellis, the Vipers' sting had been drawn.

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