Women’s Hundred – Bryony Smith, Nat Sciver prove too strong as Rockets sap London’s Spirit

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Trent Rockets 142 for 4 (Smith 63, Sciver 42*) beat London Spirit 124 for 6 (Dattani 38) by 18 runs

Trent Rockets Women finally found some form with the bat to keep themselves alive in the Hundred, beating London Spirit by 18 runs in front of more than 10,000 spectators at Trent Bridge.

Opener Bryony Smith‘s 63 off 44 balls provided the bedrock in a 100-ball total of 142 for four, backed up primarily by skipper Nat Sciver, who celebrated her 30th birthday by making an unbeaten 42 as well as taking two wickets in two balls.

Spirit, already effectively out of contention after three defeats in three, were always off the pace in the chase, despite Naomi Dattani‘s unbeaten 38 off 34 and New Zealand all-rounder Amelia Kerr’s 26 off 19.

After failing to post a score bigger than 119 in their opening three matches, Rockets remedied that handsomely after Spirit had put them in, overtaking that mark with 16 balls in hand, moments after Smith had gone to her maiden fifty in the competition.

Aussie Elyse Villani (24 off 20), employing the scoop and the reverse sweep to good effect, set the tone by hitting five of the first 15 balls for fours in a powerplay worth 37 runs.

She was bowled by Amelia Kerr’s googly, after which the flow of boundaries was stemmed for 15 balls until Smith started to find her range with four in quick succession.

Sciver was largely a spectator at this point, but once she had chance to weigh up the pitch she took Danielle Gibson for three in a row, starting with two deft laps before profiting from a misfield at midwicket.

With fifty in the bag from 39 balls, Smith went for broke, her power clearing the rope for maximums to the straight boundary off Gibson and Charlie Dean as the skipper conceded 14 in her last set of five.

Smith holed out to deep midwicket and Sciver skyed one to long-on, with Mignon du Preez run out in between as three wickets fell in eight balls at the death, but Spirit faced a challenge nonetheless.

The task became bigger as Spirit lost Beth Mooney for 13 as Sciver made an impact with the ball in a powerplay that yielded 30 for two, the skipper keeping her eyes fixed on a steepling top edge to dismiss the visitor’s ace card caught and bowled, before knocking back Grace Monaghan’s off stump first ball.

Kerr solidly kept out Sciver’s attempt to match Alana King’s hat-trick against Manchester Originals but Spirit suffered another setback as the Aussie leg spinner, enjoying an outstanding tournament thus far, beat Grace Scrivens attempt to reverse sweep for an lbw verdict, while conceding just four runs in back-to-back sets.

Just one boundary in 25 balls left Spirit needing 88 from 50 and though Kerr and Dattani kept them just about in it with 36 off 34, they needed to find boundaries. Kerr got one when she pulled Sarah Glenn’s leg spin but went for the sweep and missed the next ball, gone leg before.

Dattani played well but was left ploughing a lone furrow as Smith capped her day with a wicket when Gibson was caught short fine leg and Sophie Luff holed out to extra cover.

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