Southern Vipers 115 for 5 (Adams 63, Villiers 3-15) beat Sunrisers 114 for 7 (Griffith 65, Smith 3-13) by five wickets
Southern Vipers romped towards finals day of the Charlotte Edwards Cup when they defeated Sunrisers by five wickets at the 1st Central County Ground, Hove.
Even without their England players they were far too strong for a Sunrisers side who have lost all seven of their matches in the competition. Chasing a modest target of 115 the Vipers got home with 5.1 overs to spare.
They started off as if they wanted to get the runs in ten overs and lost two wickets in the third over. Nicole Faltum had another failure at the top of the order when she was bowled, sweeping, by Mady Villiers. And three balls later Ella McCaughan was caught at cow corner going for a maximum.
But captain Georgia Adams led from the front with an unbeaten 63, with six fours and three sixes. She lost Georgia Elwiss, who was caught at midwicket for ten, and then Freya Kemp who was bowled for 12. And just before the end Emily Windsor was bowled for eight. But former opener Adams, despite being dropped on 19, batted with authority, reaching her fifty from only 28 deliveries and going on to steer her side to an emphatic victory.
The Vipers went into their last group stage match with the comfortable knowledge that only heavy defeat would deny them a place at New Road, Worcester, where they will face Thunder.
And, having to chosen to bowl, the only serious resistance came from Cordelia Griffith, who plundered 65 runs from 56 deliveries, with nine fours and a six.
The Vipers were well on their way to victory after just five overs, having reduced Sunrisers to 18 for 4 in that time.
Struggling Sunrisers had given the captaincy to the experienced South African Dane van Niekerk and given a debut to impressive medium pacer Esmae MacGregor, who took two wickets. But it wasn't enough.
Slow left-armer Linsey Smith opened the bowling for the Vipers and broke through with just the third delivery of the match when Alice Macleod, walking down the pitch, missed the ball and was comfortably stumped by Faltum. Sunrisers lost their second wicket to the first delivery of the third over when Smith straightened one and had van Niekerk lbw. And it was 5 for 3 when Villiers played too early to the last ball of Smith's second over and skied to deep extra cover to make it three soft dismissals in as many overs.
From the second ball of the fifth over wicket-keeper Amara Carr was run out by Alice Monaghan, going for an optimistic second run and the innings looked in ruins.
But the Sunrisers can never be written off while Griffith is still there and once again the aggressive right-hander counter-attacked against a Vipers side who, as usual, rotated their bowlers at every opportunity. At the halfway stage of the innings - which had featured six Vipers bowlers - Sunrisers were 45 for 4.
Grifffith powered to her fifty from 44 balls when she pulled Elwiss to the midwicket boundary. But with the last ball of the over Elwiss yorked Florence Miller for 20 to end the 65-run partnership. And, in essence, the innings was over in the 18th over when Griffith, aiming for the leg side, was caught at extra-cover.