|Women’s Hundred Final, Lord’s|
|Southern Brave 101-7 (100 balls): Darkley 26 (23); Ismail 2-12, Capsey 2-17|
|Oval Invincible 105-5 (94 balls): Chapter 37* (33)|
|Oval Invincibles won by five wickets|
Oval Invincibles won the Women’s Hundred for the second straight year with another win over Southern Brave at Lord’s.
In a repeat of last year’s Finals, the Invincibles expertly limited the Brave to 101-7 with a fine all-around bowling performance.
South Africa international Shabnim Ismail and 18-year-old England star Alice Capsey each won two wickets, while 17-year-old spinner Sophia Smale also sent off Sophia Dunkley with 26 – the highest of Brave’s fearsome batting streak.
The Invincibles’ running hunt grew tense in front of a record crowd for a women’s national game of 20,840, but Marizanne Kapp steered the Invincibles to a five-wicket win from six balls to save.
The South African finished on 37 without a knockout while Emily Windsor hit the winning streak and went unbeaten in the 13th before being besieged by her teammates who stormed onto the field.
The Men’s Final between Trent Rockets and Manchester Originals follows at 18:45 BST as it was postponed due to technical issues.
Kapp stands up as the Invincibles go back to back
It wasn’t a thrilling frontier match, it turned out to be a suitably nervy match to do with the occasion – Lord is pretty much full at the end.
Despite 25 from Capsey, the defending champions were still 24 runs from victory when Windsor joined Kapp in the middle.
One of the world’s best all-rounders, Kapp played the role of the veteran pro and talked Windsor through the tensions between deliveries. Windsor, who combines her playing career with commentating on BBC radio, never seemed overwhelmed.
But despite the calm in the middle, tension was evident elsewhere. Kapp’s wife Dane van Niekerk, last year’s Invincibles captain who did not start in the final, was on her feet on the Lord’s balcony, clearly struggling with her nerves.
However, Kapp, who missed the Commonwealth Games earlier this summer due to a serious illness in her family, was cool throughout.
Until she dropped to one knee after the moment of victory, the 32-year-old was visibly touched.
Brave has arguably the strongest team in women’s competition, but once again it was the Invincibles that came out on top.
A team performance with the ball
The Invincibles’ impressive bowling performance was a true team effort. Brave’s opening pair went 33-0 before the fiery Ismail held on to an excellent sweeping catch to sack Danni Wyatt for 15.
Ismail is known around the world as one of the fastest bowlers in the Women’s Games, but the next wicket came from 17-year-old Sophia Smale – a player few knew three weeks ago.
Smale, who played in the Hundred during her vacation between 12th and 13th grades in college as a substitute for late injuries, was one of the breakout stars of this year’s competition.
The left-arm spinner has made a habit of dismissing well-known batsmen, adding Indian international Smriti Mandhana’s scalp, which was caught and bowled before waving to her grandfather Malcolm in the stands after a pumped-up celebration.
“The reason she got into cricket is because of her grandfather,” England captain Heather Knight told BBC radio. “The fact that her grandfather would be here was really special for her.”
With her name on The Hundred, Newport-born Smale follows in the footsteps of teammate Capsey, who performed last year as a 16-year-old.
Capsey, now 18 and an England international, took the deciding wicket from Sophia Dunkley just as her England team-mate started the motor and added Georgia Adams’ scalp two balls later before her crucial role with the bat.
Brave falls short again
Brave had been in a similarly tense eliminator on Friday as they qualified for the finals for the Trent Rockets despite Nat Sciver’s fireworks.
Their squad is packed with international talent, but like last year when they were eliminated for 73, they couldn’t give their best in the biggest event.
Capsey was dropped twice and crucially the Brave also lost five wides and four byes in a low scoring match.