Oval Invincibles Women 133 for 2 (van Niekerk 67*, Adams 42) beat Birmingham Phoenix 129 for 9 (Burns 45, Farrant 3-23, van Niekerk 2-16) by eight wickets
Oval Invincibles Women cranked up their Hundred challenge with a crunching eight-wicket victory over Birmingham Phoenix at Edgbaston.
Invincibles captain Dane van Niekerk led from the front with bat and ball as her side recorded their third victory of the campaign.
An excellent bowling performance by the Invincibles restricted the Phoenix to 129 for 9. Only Erin Burns, with 45 off 28 balls, found any fluency against a well-directed attack in which van Niekerk took 2 for 16 from 20 balls and Tash Farrant took 3 for 23 from 20, the latter claiming Player of the Match honours.
The Invincibles then reached 133 for 2 with three balls to spare, powered by an opening stand of 90 between van Niekerk, who was unbeaten with 67 off 51 balls, and Georgia Adams, who scored 42 off 30.
The Invincibles are right back on the front foot in the qualification race but the Phoenix are now under serious pressure. They have struggled to cope with the withdrawal of big-name players just before the tournament began but need to find some answers quickly after winning just one of five games.
The Phoenix chose to bat but just one run came from the first nine balls from Alice Capsey and Farrant. Shafali Verma, who scored a run-a-ball 16, threatened briefly but fell to Eva Gray and Phoenix hopes took another jolt when skipper Amy Jones was stumped by Sarah Bryce off van Niekerk.
Burns took the attack to the Invincibles and struck seven on the way to scoring 45 out of the next 59 runs but then attacked Danielle Gregory once too often and sent up a catch to Grace Gibbs. It was left to Issy Wong, Gwenan Davies and Kirstie Gordon to eke the total upwards with a combined 33 from 25 balls.
The Invincibles' reply was launched in impressive fashion by Adams and van Niekerk. The latter hit four of her first ten balls for four and when Adams hoisted Abtaha Maqsood to the long off boundary, the opening stand had passed 50 in 41 balls.
Dropped catches added to the Phoenix woes and Adams was reprieved twice on the way to 42 with five fours and a six before she chipped Gordon to extra cover and a catch finally stuck.
It was far too late to affect the result though, as van Niekerk passed 50 in 40 balls and her side eased home with greater comfort than three balls to spare suggests.
Dane van Niekerk
Oval Invincibles (Women)
Birmingham Phoenix (Women)
Phoenix vs Invincibles
The Hundred Women's Competition