Ismail, Elwiss star as Fire down Invincibles to move top of the table

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Welsh Fire 81 for 7 (Elwiss 33, Dunkley 28, Kapp 4-18, Scholfield 2-19) beat Oval Invincibles 80 (Winfield-Hill 42, Ismail 3-12, Elwiss 2-4) by three wickets

Shabnim Ismail returned to wreak havoc on her former team-mates as Welsh Fire edged out defending champions Oval Invincibles by three wickets to go top of the Women’s Hundred table.

The South African quick, who helped the Invincibles lift successive Hundred titles before switching to Fire this season, starred with 3 for 12 as the home side were steamrollered for just 80 at the Kia Oval.

Ismail was backed up by Alex Griffiths and Georgia Elwiss, who took 2 for 15 and 2 for 4 respectively as Invincibles lost four wickets for one run in a deadly eight-ball spell. Lauren Winfield-Hill’s defiant knock of 42 from 35 deliveries was the only glimmer of hope in the Invincibles batting unit.

Elwiss top-scored with 33 from 29 as Fire chased down their target with 20 balls to spare, although Marizanne Kapp’s spell of 4 for 18 ensured it was far from straightforward.

Having won the toss and put the hosts in, Fire immediately applied pressure in the powerplay as Ismail sent down six successive dot balls, the last of which removed Suzie Bates.

At 23 for 1, Invincibles had built some semblance of a platform – but that was demolished by the medium-pace pair of Elwiss and Griffiths, who both captured a wicket with their second deliveries.

Elwiss had Alice Capsey caught at short third before foxing Kapp with a slower ball that took out her middle stump and Dane van Niekerk fell victim to a similar offering by Griffiths, who also had Paige Scholfield caught on the boundary.

Ismail returned to dismiss Mady Villiers and Ryana MacDonald-Gay with successive balls and, when Eva Gray fell soon afterwards to Claire Nicholas, the Invincibles were wilting at 40 for 8.

But Winfield-Hill led a mini-fightback, with Sophia Smale and then Lizzie Scott helping her to double their side’s total for the last two wickets until the opener was last out, bowled off the penultimate ball by Freya Davies.

Kapp then boosted her side’s faint hopes by removing both Fire openers for ducks – Tammy Beaumont gliding a first-ball outswinger to slip and Hayley Matthews caught at cover in her next set.

However, Dunkley found the boundaries regularly with a series of cuts and pulls and she was joined by a capable partner in Elwiss, with the pair sharing the highest stand of the match – 40 from 38.

Fire looked comfortably on course until Scholfield struck twice in as many deliveries, with Dunkley holing out to long on for 28 from 21 and Laura Harris caught at cover.

But Elwiss, given a life on 8 when Smale spilled a catch at short third, took advantage to steer Fire within touching distance of victory – only for Kapp to hit back, becoming the third bowler in the game to take two in two.

Although Smale picked up another wicket, it was not enough to rescue Invincibles and Griffiths struck her for the winning run, courtesy of a misfield.

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