A team of players who have never played a game of football before, the Hundred is an English football club with no history or tradition. They are also one of the best teams in England.
|The Oval Invincibles defeated the Oval Invincibles 114-7. (100 balls) Gordon 2-22, Kapp 37 (37), Capsey 26 (20).|
|All-out 94 for the Birmingham Phoenix (94 balls) Farrant 4-10; A Jones 35|
|The Invincibles win by a score of 20 runs.|
With a 20-run victory against Birmingham Phoenix in the eliminator, Oval Invincibles came back from the brink to reach the first women’s Hundred final.
The Phoenix were cruising at 66-2 with a 115-point lead until the Invincibles, on their own turf, turned the game around with Tash Farrant and skipper Dane van Niekerk’s heroics.
Farrant, who is currently the tournament’s top wicket-taker, took a stunning diving catch to remove Erin Burns for 23, and the Oval crowd of over 12,000 had hardly calmed when she had Phoenix captain Amy Jones for 35 the next ball.
The Phoenix just needed 49 from 49 balls to win, but the Invincibles sped to victory by taking six more wickets to dismiss the visitors for 94 runs.
Van Niekerk took a stunning reaction catch off her own bowling and was the ideal, unflappable captain throughout.
On Saturday, her team will face Southern Brave in the final, which will begin at 15:00 BST and be shown live on Two.
Farrant swings the game in two amazing minutes.
Farrant’s spectacular grab, which drew gasps from the audience, was hailed by England captain Heather Knight as a “diving Superman effort.”
Burns, who had appeared in command alongside Jones, struck the ball in the air, but Farrant flew to her left, nearly horizontal to the ground, to grab the ball.
“I’m not sure what occurred,” Farrant said. “I simply grabbed it out of thin air.”
Then she returned to her day job of bowling and knocked out Jones with a deft slower ball. Farrant and her Invincibles teammates screamed with joy as the audience applauded. Jones put her palm over her face to hide her expression. She was well aware that this was a pivotal time.
Farrant, who was born in Greece and reared in Italy and Singapore, was far from finished.
To close up the game, she grabbed three more wickets for a total of four wickets for ten runs in 19 balls.
Farrant’s England contract was cancelled in 2019 and she went on to teach at a school, but her performance is the highlight of a year in which she has returned to the international fold.
At the end, Knight remarked, “She seems emotional.” “I’m proud of what she’s accomplished.”
Captain Fantastic = Van Niekerk
But we must not overlook Van Niekerk’s brilliance.
She showed herself to be not just a world-class player but also, maybe more significantly, a great leader once again.
With the game slipping away after 45 balls, she called a strategic pause and delivered what seemed to be an impassioned, harsh team talk after conferring with the Invincibles coaches. Six balls later, she had the game under her control.
“‘On this pitch, don’t leave anything out,’ Dane urged. ‘Begin with a bang,’ says the narrator “Farrant said.
“Her superpower is how enthusiastic she is about the game. You can see she cares about this squad as a leader.”
While serving as a TV commentator, Manchester Originals men’s captain Carlos Brathwaite complimented her match-defining leadership and passion.
He compared Van Niekerk to India’s men’s captain Virat Kohli, saying, “Van Niekerk is the Virat Kohli of the women’s game.” “Look at how happy she is [for her wicket]! I like the zeal.”
Do you think nerves made it to Phoenix?
Phoenix, who won their final three group games to clinch an improbable playoff berth, would have thought they had this game won on many times.
To get to their below-par total, the Invincibles required a 54-point partnership from Marizanne Kapp and 17-year-old Alice Capsey.
It seemed that they would win comfortably with Burns and, in especially, Jones at the crease, but they fell short.
Alex Hartley, the England World Cup champion, claimed that the large audience and stage were to fault.
“Domestically, we haven’t played in front of tens of thousands of fans on the road,” Hartley remarked.
“It’s a massive thing. The girls’ anxieties have gotten the best of them today.”