London Spirit 118 for 9 (Gibson 22, Kapp 2-13) beat Oval Invincibles 97 (Kapp 30, Kerr 3-16) by 21 runs
London Spirit clinched their first win of the season to leave their rivals Oval Invincibles’ bid for a three-peat in tatters, battling back from 53 for 6 and 87 for 9 to defend 118. The back-to-back champions are three points behind third-placed Northern Superchargers, and need not only to win their last two games but to hope other results go their way.
Filer was an unlikely source of runs. She has one senior half-century for Western Storm but admitted afterwards: “I don’t like batting.” She said: “I feel like I’m a ‘go big or go home’ type of batter, but I’ve obviously had to work technically on it as well. Tara has to take credit as well. The first eight or nine balls, I couldn’t find the middle but in that last set of five, I found it.”
And Invincibles never got going in the chase. It took until the 20th ball for them to hit a boundary, by which time Lauren Winfield-Hill had holed out to deep midwicket, and Capsey’s cameo of 11 off 6 balls was not the innings they required, with van Niekerk’s absence leaving them light on batting.
Bates struggled to time the ball, hitting a solitary boundary in her anchoring innings of 24 off 34, and while Kapp showed her more intent in hitting Filer back over her head for consecutive boundaries, she was the only batter to adjust to the demands of a slow pitch.
After Bates sliced Charlie Dean to short third, shortly after the strategic timeout, Kapp had a life: she spooned Norris’ slower ball up towards the edge of the ring, but Knight dropped a tough chance over her shoulder, running back from cover-point. Paige Scholfield fell three balls later, holing out to long-on.
“We’re ecstatic,” Filer said. “We’ve had rain every game and it’s been up and down. We just needed to come the other side of the river! It’s one of those things. We’ve got a few tough games coming up but we’ve take this going forwards.” Spirit are mathematically still in contention, but need to win their final three games.
For Invincibles, van Nierkerk’s absence proved too much to overcome. “It’s a massive hole to fill – she’s such a good batter, as well as a leader,” Smale said. “But I don’t think we should be relying on Dane: we’ve got some really good domestic players in that middle order that have stepped up really well. It’s obviously massive to lose her.”
They need to beat Southern Brave in Southampton on Saturday but their title defence looks all but over.