Oval Invincibles 107 for 2 (Adams 37*) beat London Spirit 103 for 9 (Beaumont 42, Knight 34) by eight wickets
Oval Invincibles will play in Friday's eliminator at their home ground unless they lose their final group game and other results go against them, after a remarkable fightback with the ball helped them cruise past London Spirit with 13 balls to spare.
Playing with a full complement of overseas players for only the second time in the competition after injuries to Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail, Invincibles were on the ropes with Spirit cruising at 80 for 1 after 61 balls. But a disastrous collapse of 23 for 8 saw them post a below-par 103.
anchored the reply with an unbeaten 37 off 34 balls, with useful cameos from Fran Wilson and Kapp keeping them ticking. The asking rate was never a problem and with Spirit's attack lacking incision or bite, the chase turned into a cakewalk in front of over 11,000 fans basking in the late-afternoon sun.
Invincibles now have a two-point cushion on Northern Superchargers and Trent Rockets with a superior net run-rate. They can only miss out on qualification for the knockout stages if they lose to table-topping Southern Brave in their final group game, and both other teams win by a significant margin.
Spirit are mathematically still in contention, but are likely to be eliminated before their final group game against Welsh Fire on Wednesday barring a string of results falling in their favour.
Spirit lost Naomi Dattani early, caught slashing to extra cover. They would have been two down inside the Powerplay if wicketkeeper Sarah Bryce had held onto a thick edge from Heather Knight, who flashed at a 119kph length ball from Shabnim Ismail which cramped her for room. But after that early chance, when she had only managed one off her seven previous balls, Knight began to find her rhythm, pulling and punching consecutive boundaries to get up and running.
She pulled and swept Mady Villiers through square leg with disdain, and Tammy Beaumont went through the gears in the middle phase, scoring freely on both sides of the ground en route to her highest score of the Hundred so far. At 79 for 1 off 60 balls, Spirit were well-placed to accelerate at the death and press on towards 140, not least with all three of their overseas players waiting in the dugout.
Capsey + Kapp = Capitulation
Capsey only turned 17 this week but has already made a significant impression on Knight in this competition. It could lead many to wonder how long it will be before England give her an opportunity. At Lord's in the reverse fixture, she lofted her inside-out over extra cover on her way to a match-winning 59, and here, she broke a 76-run stand by inducing a top-edged sweep.
Kapp, on her return to the Invincibles XI after missing five consecutive games through injury, then returned for her third set of five. Beaumont punched her first ball to mid-off, where Jo Gardner's direct hit saw her stranded short of her ground despite a full-length dive, and Danielle Gibson was trapped lbw first ball as 80 for 1 turned into 85 for 4.
Deandra Dottin became Capsey's second victim, bowled on the sweep, and a flurry of late wickets at the death as Spirit's middle and lower order struggled to get themselves set saw them subside to a paltry 103 for 9. They have struggled for runs throughout the season - Knight, with 180 in seven innings, is their leading scorer - and their total always looked short of par.
Adams was the breakout player in English domestic cricket in 2020, leading Southern Vipers to the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with a glut of runs while captaining the side, but struggled for form in the early rounds of the Hundred, with scores of 12, 0, 26 and 0 in her first four innings of the season.
But something has clicked in the last 10 days. She made 42 off 30 balls to set up a comfortable chase at Edgbaston in Invincibles' last completed game, and while she was not at her fluent best in making 37 not out off 34 balls in the south London sunshine, she grew into her innings after a slow start. Her best shot was a disdainful pull between the boundary-riders at midwicket and long-on off Knight, and with support from the rest of the top four, she led a cruise to victory.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98