Tazmin Brits’ blistering 66-ball hundred headlined South East Stars’ 19-run win over Sunrisers at Beckenham.
The South Africa international hit 10 fours and five sixes on her way to an unbeaten 112 off 72 deliveries as the Stars put up 290-9.
Sunrisers looked well-positioned to chase down the target after an opening stand worth 143 between Cordelia Griffith and Grace Scrivens was followed by some fine hitting from captain Dane van Niekerk. With 10 overs left, 80 runs were required for victory with nine wickets still in tow.
But leg-spinner Danielle Gregory, not introduced into the attack until the 37th over, took four wickets in the space of three overs to turn the tide and end the Stars’ three-match losing streak in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
Brits’ blast came after the Stars’ openers had established a fine base, with Alexa Stonehouse and Kira Chathli putting on 111 together.
Stonehouse had some fortune, surviving two dropped chances, but the 19-year-old was the first to fifty, which came off 65 deliveries.
A fifty for Chathli arrived in the 23rd over, but Stonehouse departed for 51 from the very next delivery, smacking spinner Jodie Grewcock straight into the safe hands of van Niekerk at mid-off.
Chathli impressed with her ball-striking down the ground to spin but saw Bryony Smith dismissed for 2 from the other end; attempting to clip Grewcock through the leg-side, the right-hander lobbed a simple catch to van Niekerk at mid-off.
The Grewcock and van Niekerk combination struck again in the 29th over when Chathli also couldn’t beat mid-off, her knock ended on 71.
Brits had already entered the fray by this stage and enjoyed some fortune, dropped on 1 by Florence Miller in the deep. She found her flow, though, a pair of boundaries in a Grewcock over followed by a six over long-on off Amu Surenkumar.
She was given another reprieve on 44 off the final ball of the 35th over and went on to reach her half-century off 41 balls.
The 32-year-old then went on to thump her compatriot van Niekerk for two sixes off consecutive legitimate deliveries, and her century arrived in the 48th over.
Wickets tumbled from the other end as the innings came to a close, but Brits reverse-swept the final ball for four to finish with a flourish.
Griffith and Scrivens then set about eclipsing the opening partnership that Stonehouse and Chathli had put together. The pair brought up 50 in the 13th over of the innings before two brief interruptions of rain followed, the second one taking two overs off the innings and revising the target to 282.
Griffith was the more aggressive of the pair, her half-century taking 64 balls while Scrivens took 87 deliveries to get to her fifty. The latter seemed ready to up her rate, hitting Smith down the ground for four off the first ball of the 32nd over. But an attempted reverse-swat two balls later saw her bowled for 59.
Van Niekerk was in next, showing her power down the ground and through cover with four boundaries off one Ryana MacDonald-Gay over.
Gregory then arrived to made a crucial breakthrough; Griffith was adjudged lbw on 92 as she missed out on a flick off the pads. The leggie struck again in her next over, with Mady Villiers’ attempted cover drive resulting in a thick edge that lobbed up to Kalea Moore at third man. Grewcock was Gregory’s third, but the most vital delivery was the one to remove van Niekerk, the batter sweeping hard but into the hands of short fine leg for 44.
Amara Carr hit a quickfire 29 but Gregory’s intervention was a match-winning one.