1st Match (N), The Oval, Jul 21 2021, The Hundred Women's Competition
(98/100 balls, target 136)139/5
Invincibles won by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
player of the match
Dane van Niekerk
Oval Invincibles (Women)

9.20pm Right, that will probably do for tonight. We've got another month of this! From Miller, Matt, Venkat and the rest of the ESPNcricinfo team, good night and see you tomorrow for the men's opener. They've suddenly had a tough act to follow.

Kate Cross: "What a fun night, we couldn't have asked for a better opening game, we're making history tonight and the result was almost irrelevant. When Kappy and Dane got together, they are paid the big bucks to come and win games at a packed Oval. Pleased for them on their home soil. Sunday's match at home, hopefully we can recreate this. If we took our catches we could have come out on top. I've never played in front of a crowd like that anywhere, I hope it does inspire someone to pick up a cricket bat."

9.13pm The Oval players are going a lap of honour... and why not. Mention of a record crowd for a women's domestic competition too (we'll gloss over the fact that most of the tickets were give-aways, hopefully a fair few will be back under their own steam!)

Samuel: "That... wasn't awful?"

Silver Billy: "I think it's time to admit it, this is going to be good isn't it?"

Yes, that sort of sentiment ... I can only imagine the sighs of relief in the ECB towers right now...

MaLo: "How can that be stumped out? Threlkeld Collected the ball well before the ball crossed the stumps!!" Indeed... some queries flying around about that key moment... decent take but yes... tricky one to explain to a new audience though... and the ECB thought DLS would be the complex one!

The Kazoo Hero of the Match is Dane van Niekerk. "Crowd was amazing, team was brilliant, I felt the atmosphere, the fans pushed us over the line, one of the top moments in my career. I panicked a little bit, I felt we were behind the eight-ball, Kappy and I kept each other calm, and Mady is a superstar in the making. It wasn't the easiest wicket to bat on, but you got good value for your runs."

9.05pm Arms aloft, a triumphant debut from the skipper Dane van Niekerk, an outstanding cameo from Mady Villiers, and the Oval Invincibles take first blood in a thriller! Kate Cross was magnificent in her own right... three early wickets to rock the home side, and important runs too. But undone in the final analysis by her opposite number

Sabbir Apon: "If you drop four fairly easy catches, you don't deserve to win." Harsh, but also fair... they played their part and held onto some good ones too, but it wasn't the Originals' night

Stuart : "In which case, I wholeheartedly apologise for saying you cut me off in my prime. I'm quite ashamed of myself for thinking that. By the way, my wife wandered in whilst I was listening to Swith Hit last night and asked why Atomic Kitten were so special to cricket fans. I pointed her in the direction of your article." Becky Hill will hopefully get a better reception than Atomic Kitten did... It's been a lively night at The Oval, and the night is yet young!

Cross to D van Niekerk, FOUR runs

edged and safely through deep third! A slash through the line, and the Invincibles are Invincible!

Cross to Villiers, 1 run

decent response from Cross, into the pads and deflected to cover... they take the single and Cross resists the shy.. 1 from 3!

Dezz: "This would be the highest chase in Hundred history if they pull it off..." Amazing scenes!

Cross to Villiers, FOUR runs

makes space, and slammed through deep third! Villiers! Working the angles with finesse! It's almost done now!

MikeB: "Super errrrrr five, anyone?" Not until the knock-outs alas!

after 95 balls10 runs
OI-W: 130/5Need 6 from 5 balls
Dane van Niekerk52 (41)
Mady Villiers11 (6)
Sophie Ecclestone 1/23 (20)
Ecclestone to D van Niekerk, 1 run

thumped to the on-side, driving off an inside-edge. It's going to be a duel to the death between the skippers!

Ecclestone to D van Niekerk, no run

hacked to the off side, full length, can't connect properly

Ecclestone to Villiers, 1 run

right back on the stumps, vertical bat to nudge to the off side, a roar for the single, measured response

Ecclestone to Villiers, SIX runs

monstered down the ground, high over long-on! That's a stunning slap through the line, there's a fielder on the rope, but who cares! Cleared with ease!

This is getting squeaky!

Ecclestone to Villiers, 1 wide

fired down the leg side again ... another wide, but is it a stumping too? No, sharp work, but the bat was grounded

Stuart : "Thank you for the reciprocal evening greetings, Mr. Miller. But you seem to have scandalously cut off my whole bit about how I think this whole Hundred whatnot is going to be a raging success. It's probably the first time I've ever been positive on here, rather than pass on my outrage about England not picking Mark Stoneman more often. Anyway, cracking job by all at Cricinfo on the scoring and lay-out of the new format. " Think you cut it off yourself actually... but you've said your bit now!

Ecclestone to D van Niekerk, 1 run

swept, out through backward square, and they only get the single...

after 90 balls8 runs
OI-W: 120/5Need 16 from 10 balls
Dane van Niekerk50 (38)
Mady Villiers4 (4)
Alex Hartley 0/28 (20)

Celine: "Which team are you rooting for Andrew?" I want cricket to be the winner

Hartley to D van Niekerk, 1 run

fetched from wide outside off, out to wide long-on, a fifty for the skipper, from 38 balls! And on her watch, this match is going to the wire!

Rhys: "So, despite 40 fewer balls, this is probably going to take longer than a T20 Blast game. That's not gone well, has it?" If it gets tight, we'll forgive it!

Hartley to D van Niekerk, 1 wide

fired down the leg-side, trying to cramp for room... it's another extra...

Hartley to D van Niekerk, no run

thumped on the pad, Hartley is eager, probably sliding down the leg side

Hartley to D van Niekerk, FOUR runs

superb strike! Leaning back, opening the face, laying bat on ball with perfect placement and enough timing! That's a massive boundary, through extra cover

Hartley to Villiers, 1 run

pumped on the up, into the covers. Dane is back on strike

Hartley to D van Niekerk, 1 run

one-handed sweep, dropped at backward square! Ooh, big miss, straight into the hands and out again, and the shy for the run-out wasn't great either! Let-off!

after 85 balls11 runs • 1 wicket
OI-W: 112/5Need 24 from 15 balls
Mady Villiers3 (3)
Dane van Niekerk44 (34)
Sophie Ecclestone 1/13 (15)

Sure enough, Ecclestone's ten balls are going to be split up. Hartley returns to complete her set

Ecclestone to Villiers, 1 run

reverse sweep, loops over the keeper, safely for the single

Ecclestone to Villiers, 2 runs

dragged down by Ecclestone, Villiers gets underneath it and chips her pull over short backward square... they come back for two, decent result

Ecclestone to Villiers, no run

clipped to the leg side, can't beat midwicket

Ecclestone to Kapp, 1 wide, OUT

stunning take and that's stumped! Ninja reflexes from Threlkeld! Attempted flick off the legs, topples forward as the ball eludes her intentions, and the keeper was waiting, poised, to whip off the bails!

Marizanne Kapp st †Threlkeld b Ecclestone 38 (33m 27b 3x4 2x6) SR: 140.74
Ecclestone to Kapp, SIX runs

bashed over long-on! Now then! Three runs off 12 balls of Ecclestone's spell, and now that's doubled! Big shot

Ecclestone to Kapp, 1 wide

attempted sweep, sliding past the legs. That'll help

Ecclestone to Kapp, no run

attempted hack off the full length, doesn't connect properly

Here's Ecclestone