Vipers lift Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for third time

6 months ago 153
Emily Windsor batting for Southern Vipers against The BlazeEmily Windsor helped guide the Vipers home with a 53-ball 57 having come in at 101-4
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final, County Ground, Northampton
The Blaze 200-8 (48 overs): Beaumont 76, Munro 33; Smith 3-30, Dean 2-27, Adams 2-43
Southern Vipers 203-5 (40.2 overs): Windsor 57*, Elwiss 50, Adams 39, Kemp 32*; Groves 3-39, K Bryce 2-48
Match scorecard

Southern Vipers beat The Blaze in a low-scoring final to lift the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the third time at Northampton.

The five-wicket victory meant the Vipers also completed the women's domestic cup double having also beaten the East Midlands side in the Charlotte Edwards Cup final.

After a rain-affected start, Vipers skipper Georgia Adams put Blaze into bat and they slipped to 6-2.

Tammy Beaumont hit a watchful 76 from 104 balls, Sophie Munro hit 33 and skipper Kirstie Gordon a late cameo of 21 as The Blaze recovered to post 200-8 from their 48 overs.

Kathryn Bryce (2-48) reduced Vipers to 4-2 before Josie Groves (3-39) removed Georgia Elwiss (50) and Georgia Adams (39) in quick succession to leave Vipers 109-5.

But Emily Windsor struck nine fours in a 53-ball unbeaten 57 and shared an unbroken 94-run sixth-wicket stand with Freya Kemp (32 not out) to take Vipers to their target with 46 balls to spare.

The victory also marked a third piece of silverware this season for Vipers head coach Charlotte Edwards who also steered Southern Brave to victory in The Hundred.

Relive Southern Vipers' victory in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final

Vipers win vital toss to dampen Blaze batting

Play started 50 minutes late in gloomy conditions after overnight rain strayed into the morning, with the match reduced to 48 overs a side.

Tammy BeaumontTammy Beaumont finished as The Blaze's leading run scorer in the competition with 317 runs

The Blaze were outplayed by the Vipers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup final in June and demolished in the group game clash eight days ago - their third straight defeat - but were boosted by the return of England white-ball opener Beaumont.

Yet in overcast, gloomy conditions, Blaze made a dreadful start, slumping to 6-2 as Linsey Smith (3-30) trapped dangerous batter Lizelle Lee with her first ball and then struck four balls later when Marie Kelly smashed a drive straight to Charlie Dean.

England spinner Dean also had an instant impact, bowling Sarah Bryce (15) in her first over before Adams took her 19th wicket of this season's trophy campaign by trapping Georgie Boyce.

As the wickets tumbled at the other end, Beaumont had to rein in her attacking instincts and brought up her fifty off 78 balls, having been dropped twice along the way.

The Blaze struggled to get any big partnerships going as the Vipers struck at crucial times, yet they remained wary while Beaumont was at the crease.

The big breakthrough came in the 38th over when Adams, having earlier shelled a routine caught and bowled attempt, this time held on as the England batter perished for 76 looking to accelerate to leave Blaze 154-6.

Munro added a patient 33, but The Blaze needed some late hitting from skipper Gordon, with a 26-ball cameo of 21, to reach 200 off the final ball.

Groves gives Blaze hope, but finisher Windsor steps up

The Vipers looked heavy favourites, but there was a sense of deja vu in the reply as they slumped to 4-2.

Josie GrovesJosie Groves took three big wickets in eight balls

Kathryn Bryce removed Ella McCaughan (0) with her fourth ball and in her next over trapped England's Maya Bouchier, leg before, for two.

Elwiss and Adams, the second-leading run scorer in this season's trophy with 546, swung the momentum back the Vipers' way with a 96-ball third wicket stand, with Elwiss the aggressor with six fours in a 69-ball fifty.

But as soon as the 100 came up, 19-year-old spinner Josie Groves turned the game on its head in the 25th over, having Elwiss stumped by Sarah Bryce, and four balls later bowled Adams (39) to leave Vipers 101-4.

And in her next over, she yorked Dean with a stunning delivery, leaving Vipers five down with 92 still needed.

The Blaze sensed their first silverware, only for Windsor and Kemp to spoil the party and ultimately draw the sting from a seesaw final.

The pair had plenty of overs to play with and a comfortable run rate, but were in no mood to hang around and risk any late pressure.

Windsor took charge, mixing aggression with care when needed and quickly took the game away from the Blaze.

Kemp also played her part with a 35-ball 32, yet Windsor was the finisher.

Soon after bringing up a run-a-ball fifty - her third half-century of the competition - she drove Gordon over mid-off to complete victory with her ninth boundary.

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