Tammy Beaumont struck injury plagued Southern Vipers’ second-highest individual Kia Super League score to hand her side a 17-run win over fellow strugglers Yorkshire Diamonds.
Vipers have had their squad decimated with Danni Wyatt away for personal reasons, Katie George and Tash Farrant ruled out of the competition with injuries and Arran Brindle struggling with a finger problem.
But Beaumont, who herself missed two-and-a-half games through concussion earlier in the tournament, set up the team’s second win in 2018 with a fantastic 64, before Suzie Bates’ 4-26 bowled Diamonds out.
“It has been a long time but it nice to win again,” she said. “It is nice to finally put it together with the bat and the ball together. Everything has gone against us in terms of injuries so far but we have got on with it.
“I was filling in for Danni Wyatt today and got off to a flier, which I don’t usually do. Once I was in I just had to keep on going and it was disappointing the way I got out in the end.”
She added: “At the beginning we were looking to finals day but now we are just taking each game as it comes but if we play more games like that then who knows.”
Diamond’s Thea Brookes added: ““We came close but we should have seen it over the line so it was very disappointing.
“I was proud that they could trust me to go up the order, and they gave me freedom to bat. In hindsight I should have continued – the shot I played is usually a positive but the wind stopped it. I needed to be a bit smarter.”
Katherine Brunt, who was deputising the captaincy from food poisoning victim Lauren Winfield, won the toss and stuck Vipers in to bat.
Beaumont and skipper Bates got the hosts off to a flying start – with England opener Beaumont looking in particularly good touch with a series of good-looking flicks to the boundary.
Bates also clubbed four boundaries but had luck on her side when Brunt missed a run-out chance and then when she was dropped on 21 at cover.
The opening duo reached 64 off the powerplay, Vipers’ best of the campaign, but with only two further runs added, Bates finally ran out of lives when Brunt ran her out from mid-on with a direct hit.
That wicket failed to disturb Beaumont, who powered a series of cuts off the pace bowlers and used her feet to good effect against the spinners.
Beaumont’s 28-ball 50, the second of her Super League career, was brought up using the latter tactic when she smashed Katie Levick over mid-off for the first maximum of the match
Amelia Kerr had been patiently keeping her company at the other end, having been elevated up the order in Wyatt’s absence, but was caught on the slog sweep at deep mid-wicket playing her first shot in anger.
Beaumont then departed for 64, Vipers’ highest individual score of the season, when she was deceived by a slower ball and caught at wide mid-off.
Having scored 105 in the opening 12 overs, Vipers only managed 52 from the last eight, with regular wickets and miserly bowling from Delissa Kimmince, Alice Davidson-Richards and Levick stunting the rocketing start.
Sara McGlashan was run out after a mix-up with Mignon Du Preez, the South African was then bowled off her pads, Maia Bouchier was stumped and Fi Morris was bowled.
But after a 43-wait between boundaries, Paige Scholfield struck a boundary through mid-wicket before back-to-back maximums off the final over took Vipers to 159-7.
In the chase, Bates elected to open the bowling with a pair of 17-year-olds, fast bowler Lauren Bell on her debut and Kerr – who had Beth Mooney caught behind off her first ball.
Bates kept the pressure on Diamonds when Chamari Athapaththu drilled the New Zealand medium pacer’s full toss straight to Bouchier.
Thea Brookes was flung up the order to bat at no.4 and upped the ante with 45 off 36 balls, including hitting Bates back over her head for six, before holing out to long off.
Davidson-Richards had glued the innings together with an unflashy 29, but Carla Rudd pulled off some quick glove-work to stump her.
Brunt came out and continued along with the required rate, thwacking Charlie Dean for a six, but was stumped with three overs still to go, and then Kimmince was run out and Langston bowled by Morris
With 21 needed from the last over, Bates held her nerve as she had Bess Heath and Levick caught and Gwenan Davies run out to bowled out Diamonds with a ball to spare.
The two sides are now level on six points at the bottom of the Super League.