Chasing 136, Invincibles were reduced to 36/4, before Van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp bailed them out of trouble.
A composed half-century from Oval Invincibles’ skipper Dane van Niekerk’s witnessed her team triumph against Manchester Originals by five wickets at the Oval in cricket’s freshest format, The Hundred.
Batting first, Originals’ 135/6 was orchestrated by Lizelle Lee’s 42 off 39 and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 29 off 16 alongside tiny contributions from others. The start for them was not to their liking, with Marizanne Kapp sending back Emma Lamb for a two-ball duck, however, a 55-run second-wicket stand between Lee and Georgie Boyce provided some substance to the team after the early loss.
The stand was broken with Mady Villiers claiming Boyce for a 19-ball 21, while Tash Farrant pegged them further back as she removed both Lee and Kaur in quick succession. Kapp had her second scalp soon as Mignon du Preez departed for 10, while Farrant had Sophie Ecclestone stumped before Kate Cross’ brief 12 off 4 pushed the team total to 135.
Van Niekerk saves stumbling Invincibles
The Invincibles started their chase off in the worst manner possible, with Kate Cross striking thrice. With opener Alice Capsey and Grace Gibbs back in the pavilion, Laura Jackson reduced them to 12/3 when she had Fran Wilson caught by Kaur. That deteriorated further to 36/4 as Cross returned to have her third, removing Georgia Adams for 12 off 14.
From there, it came down to skipper van Niekerk and Kapp’s 73-run stand from 51 balls that brought the team back into the chase. Van Niekerk struck eight fours and a six in her unbeaten 42-ball knock, while Kapp assisted her with a 38 off 27, which included three fours and a couple of sixes.
Ecclestone struck to break the partnership as Kapp was stumped towards the fag end, but Mady Villiers ensured that the duo’s inspiring recovery did not go in vain as she smacked a six and four in her 8-ball cameo of 16 to see her side seal the opening game with two balls to spare.
Given the novelty of the format, it is still too early to lay out the dynamics of the game, however, that the volume of balls stands somewhat in the middle of a T20 and T10 format, the Originals’ approach and scoring style were slightly off track in the hindsight.