Fairbreak Invitational 2022 RECAP | 2nd Half and Finals | A happy ending and a new beginning
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Fairbreak
Match 10: Spirit vs Warriors
Team Warriors captain Sindhu Sriharsha won the toss and was elected to field first. For the first time in this tournament, the Bryce sisters from Scotland all-rounder Kathryn Bryce and keeper Sarah Bryce were up against each other. Sarah Bryce came to open the Spirit innings with Natthkan Chantham and shared a 56-run partnership before she got out on 21 (19). Irish leg-spinner Celeste Raack gave the 1st breakthrough for the Warriors. But Chantham kept scoring in the other end and brought up her 1st half-century of the tournament. She was the 1st Thai player to score a T20I 50 in the World Cup and she also became the first Thai to score a 50 here as well. But Kathryn Bryce ended her magnificent innings of 72 off 57. Late flourish 31 in just 17 balls from Nicola Carey (18* off 9) and Sophie Ecclestone’s bat (22* off 9) helped Spirit to post 167/4 on the board.
In response, the Warriors bundled down to just 100/8. The most notable innings came from Namibia's wicket-keeper Yasmeen Khan who scored 27 off 28 including 2 fours and 1 six. Ayabonga Khaka and Sophie Ecclestone took a couple of wickets each and ensured a huge 67-run victory for Spirits and reached the semi-finals. Whereas Warriors’ disappointing campaign continued as they remained win-less. Chantham was adjudged as the Player of the Match for her brilliant knock of 72.
Spirit – 167/4 (20) N. Chantham 72 (57), S. Ecclestone 22* (9); E. Oza 1/22 (4), K. Bryce 1/22 (3)
Warriors – 100/8 (20) Y. Khan 27 (28), H. Matthews 21 (18); S. Ecclestone 2/8 (3), A. Khaka 2/10 (3)
Match 11: Barmy Army vs Sapphires
Captain Sana Mir was back in the side and Australian all-rounder Grace Harris also made it to the Sapphires XI for the first time in the tournament. They opted to field first. And it ended up in a battle of the elegance of Laura Wolvaardt and the excellence of Harris. Wolvaardt led the Barmy Army batting with her classy 65 off 45 before Harris got the better of her. And she also plucked the wicket of dangerous Dottin (28 off 17) at the beginning with a sharp caught and bowled. But she didn't stop to that and ended up picking a 5-for including a hat-trick. It was the 2nd fifer and 1st hat-trick of the tournament. Sana Mir also took her 1st Fairbreak wicket by dismissing the opponent skipper Heather Knight on 20 off 15. Despite all these hiccups, Barmy Army made 148/8 in 20 overs. Brazilian captain Roberta Avery added crucial 17 (29) runs to the total.
Harris who took all the limelight straightaway coming into the XI, was in the same mood to repeat that with the bat as well. But Bangladesh’s Rumana Ahmed dismissed heron 31 off 20 before causing much damage. But Sapphires' batting recovered well from Ahmed's 3 for 22. Thanks to Shabnim Ismail's 16 off 13 and Kuwait's Maryam Omar's unbeaten 26 off 20 they only fell short of 6 runs. With this win, Barmy Army qualified for the semi-finals. Vanuatu skipper Selina Solman showcased some notable performances on the field by taking 3 excellent catches.
Grace Harris won the Player of the Match for her 5/22 and 31 off 20. But what also made noise in the cricketing world alongside this amazing individual brilliance was Heather Knight donned the keeping gloves in this game after Shemaine Campbell got injured during the keeping.
Barmy Army – 148/8 (20) L. Wolvaardt 65 (45), D. Dottin 28 (17); G. Harris 5/22 (4), S. Mir 1/29 (4)
Sapphires – 142/7 (20) G. Harris 31 (20), M. Omar 26* (20); R. Ahmed 3/22 (4), F. Sana 1/22 (4)
Match 12: Sapphires vs Falcons
To qualify for the semi-finals, Sapphires not only had to win their last league game but also had to win their bonus points at the end of the 10 overs each. Last game POTM Grace Harris started her innings in the same manner from where she left. She tonked back-to-back two huge sixes against Sornnarin Tippoch. But in the next delivery, Tippoch got the better of her as Harris completely missed the line of the ball and it ended up rattling her stumps. Elyse Villani stitched a 2nd wicket partnership of 100 runs with Dutch keeper Babette de Leede before she was dismissed by Hong King pacer Marina Lamplough on 45 off 48. But Villani remained unbeaten on 71 off 54 and took Sapphires to a convincing total of 152/3 on the board. Bhutan's Anju Gurung bowled a brilliant economical spell of 0/15 in 4 overs.
To win the game, Sapphires needed some magic with the ball and Sana Mir did exactly what was needed. She took 4/15 including the wickets of Athapththu and Bates. Keeper de Leede also made a world record of 5 stumpings in a T20 game. She became the first keeper of men or women to do so in official T20s across the globe. In the 3 of the 4 dismissals of Mir, she did the stumpings. Captain Mir also praised this young keeper on how she read her wrong uns from the hand and has been brilliant throughout the tournament. Australia’s 18-year-old leg spinner Jade Allen also plucked 2 wickets. With this all-round bowling performance, Sapphire thrashed the Falcons by 30 runs. But as the Falcons needed to win only one bonus point to qualify and they achieved it at the end of the 10 overs by scoring more, they marched through to the semis despite the loss.
Babette de Leede for her record-breaking 5 stumpings and the crucial knock of 45 off 48 won her the Player of the Match award. From the 1st game’s nervousness and fumbles behind the stumps, the way de Leede brought together and shone in the rest of the matches is quite praiseworthy.
Sapphires – 152/3 (20) E. Villani 71 (54), B. de Leede 45 (48); M. Lamplough 1/30 (4), S. Tippoch 1/37 (4)
Falcons – 122/7 (20) C. Athapaththu 30 (34), S. Bates 25 (22), S. Mir 4/15, J. Allen 2/10 (2)
Match 13: Spirit vs Tornadoes
Tornadoes needed one bonus point to qualify even if they don’t win this game. They invited Spirit to bat first after winning the toss. One of the best things about team Spirit is what sets them apart from the rest of the teams and for quite a reason they are topping the points table because, unlike other teams, their batting line-up is not top-heavy. Rather, the experience of Dunkley, Carey, Maroof, and Ecclestone lies in the middle order and the opening pair of Sarah Bryce and Chantham gets the freedom as well as the required exposure. Chantham was dismissed on a duck by her fellow countrywoman Sutthiruang. But Bryce (39 off 38) and Dunkley (26 off 16) made some useful contributions on the top before captain Carey took them to the total of 156/4 with the help of her brisk 53* of 26.
But the no. 1 off-spinner Ecclestone made a mockery of the chase with her 5/8 including wickets of Devine and Luus. It is the best figure at the end of the group stage of this tournament. It is also notable that 3 of the best 5 bowling figures are Spirit bowlers. Tornadoes needed to surpass Spirit's 10-over score of 66 to get the bonus point, but they probably missed the trick and didn’t go all guns blazing. With her 2/3, Miyaji's wickets tally in this tournament so far is 6 wickets. This Japanese veteran dismissed another veteran Katey Martin and Diana Baig. Whereas English middle-order bat Sophia Dunkley was showing her all-round ability and took 2 wickets with her leg-spin. With this clinical bowling performance, Spirit beat the Tornadoes by 75 runs.
Ecclestone unsurprisingly won the Player of the Match for her destructive spell of 5/8.
Sapphires – 156/4 (20) N. Carey 53* (26), S. Bryce 39 (38); S. Rana Magar 1/26 (4), A. Riaz 1/25 (3)
Tornadoes – 81 (16.1) S. Luus 34 (33). M. Anne Musonda 12 (19); S. Ecclestone 5/8 (3.1), S. Miyaji 2/3 (2)
Match 14: Falcons vs Tornadoes
Even after their previous loss and a strategic error, Tornadoes still had a chance to gain that required bonus point and confirm their berth in the semis. And to get that, captain Sophie Devine broke the norm of fielding first and rather chose to bat first in this do-or-die game. Falcons opener Athapaththu (20 off 15) who is the highest run-scorer of this tournament was outsmarted by Stafanie Taylor. She tonked to huge sixes down the ground before that delivery from Taylor took a fine edge and a brilliant take by Katey Martin behind the stumps completed the great piece of dismissal. On the other end, Danni Wyatt was sent to the dugout by the amazing Malaysian all-rounder Duraisingam. But captain Bates held the innings together and took Falcons to a respectable total of 138/4. Mariko Hill (21 off 23) and Nannapat Koncharoenkai (15* off 11) made some crucial contributions alongside Bates in the Falcons' innings.
In response, Tornadoes not only gained the bonus point but also chased down the total with the stamp of authority by 7 wickets. Devine (52 off 29) and Kalis (50 off 47) scored brilliant half-centuries at the top. And when Tornadoes required 49 off 54 to win, Devine showed some big heart and reminded the purpose of this tournament yet again. She retired out to give Nepal’s Sita Rana Magar and Canada’s Divya Saxena a deserved chance to bat. Sita (18* off 25) remained not out alongside Luus *(13* off 9) and won the game with a glorious boundary. Sweden’s Gunjan Shukla was the pick of the bowler with 2/32.
Captain Devine won the hearts as well as the Player of the Match award for her knock of 52 off 29.
Falcons – 138/4 (20) S. Bates 41* (31), D. Wyatt 32 (29); W. Duraisingam 1/17 (3), S. Taylor 1/26 (4)
Tornadoes – 141/3 (19.2) S. Devine 52 (29), S. Kalis 50 (47); G. Shukla 1/17 (3), M. Hill 0/18 (3.2)
Match 15: Warriors vs Barmy Army
The last game of the group stage was a dead rubber as the Barmy army were already reached the SF and the Warriors are out of the tournament. But the Warriors were playing for pride and wanted their sad campaign on a winning note. And Warriors put up a defendable total of 156/6 on the board. Thanks to Hayley Mathews’ 52 off 35 and Mignon du Preez’s unbeaten 75 off 54. Also, Celeste Raack played a good cameo of 18 off 16 at the end of the innings. The highlights of the Barmy army bowling were Dottin’s first ball wicket and Henriette Ishimwe’s economical spell of 1/18.
And Warriors were exhaling fire on the field. Du Preez took a one-handed screamer in Prabodhani’s bowling to dismiss her South African counterpart Wolvaardt. It was her maiden wicket of the tournament and she ended on with the figures of 2/17. Matthews also scalped 2 wickets and showed why she is one of the best slip-fielders with two excellent catches. Warriors’ all-round bowling curtailed the Barmy Army innings to just 102/8. Warriors finally registered a win and for captain Sindhu Sriharsha, this win over a world cup winning captain Heather Knight’s team must be special. Fatima Sana (34 off 34) and Ruana Ahmed (26* off 19) only made some meaningful contributions with the bat. They also missed Dottin’s batting due to some niggle.
Proteas veteran Mignon du Preez won the Player of the Match for her top score of 75* off 54.
Warriors – 156/6 (20) M. du Preez 75* (54), H. Matthews 52 (35); H. Ishimwe 1/18 (4), D. Dottin 1/11 (2)
Barmy Army – 102/8 (20) F. Sana 34 (34), R. Ahmed 26* (19); H. Matthews 2/5 (3), U. Parbodhani 2/17 (2)
SF 1 – Falcons vs Spirit
After winning the toss, Falcons decided to bat first to put up the scoreboard pressure by putting up a big total. And the destructive opening pair Athapaththu and Wyatt did exactly what the Falcons required. They shared a 132-run partnership. Though Ecclestone got the breakthrough in Athapaththu (63 off 52), the highest wicket-taker of the tournament had a tough outing with the ball. She conceded 44 runs in her 4 overs. Captain Carey on the other hand took 2 wickets of Wyatt and Bates which caused a little collapse late in the innings. But Falcons managed to post a formidable total of 172 for 5.
In the chase, Spirit could never catch up with the run rate from the beginning. Chantham (42 off 40), Dunkley (45 off 30), and Ecclestone's knocks (29* off 18) went in vain as Spirit fell short by 25 runs. Anju
Gurung was the pick of the bowlers with her 2/26.
And the Falcons became the 1st team to reach the finals. And Wyatt’s instrumental contribution of 83 off 48 made her the Player of the Match.
Falcons – 172/5 (20) D. Wyatt 83 (48), C. Athapaththu 63 (52); N. Carey 2/30 (4), A. Khaka 1/27 (4)
Spirit – 147/5 (20) S. Dunkley 45 (30), N. Chantham 42 (40); A. Gurung 2/26 (4), S. Tippoch 1/31 (4)
SF 2 – Barmy Army vs Tornadoes
In the 2nd semi-final, Tornadoes won the toss and invited Barmy Army to bat first. Diana Baig gave a dream start to Tornadoes by dismissing Dottin and Egodage in just 13 runs. But Barmy Army recovered from the early blows with the help of Knight (31 off 25) and Campbelle’s (31 off 30) rebuilding of 46 off 40. And late blitz from Rumana Ahmed (35 off 15) and Fatima Sana (21 off 21) took Barmy Army to a fighting total of 141/6.
In response, Devine (37 off 26) and Kalis (34 off 41) stitched a mammoth opening stand of 73 off just 58 deliveries. When it seemed they took the game away from Barmy Army, they wrestled back. From 73-0, they reduced to 100-3. But Sune Luus (18 off 10) and Aliya Riaz (34 off 22) added important 34 runs together. And the see-saw continued as Barmy Army dismissed Luus and Martin in the penultimate over. In the last over, two new batters Diana Baig and Natasha Miles were on the crease, and Tornadoes needed to score 4 off 6 to qualify in the semis. And they chased it with two balls to spare and joined Falcons in the final.
Despite Barmy Army losing by 4 wickets, Rumana Ahmed fought hard and keep them in the game with her all-round performance of 35* off 15 and 3/23. And for this, she was awarded the Player of the Match.
Barmy Army – 141/6 (20) R. Ahmed 35* (15), H. Knight 31 (25); D. Baig 2/32 (4), C. Sutthiruang 1/22 (4)
Tornadoes – 142/6 (19.4) S. Devine 37 (26), S. Kalis 34 (41); R. Ahmed 3/23 (4), H. Ishimwe 2/27 (4)
3rd place play-off – Barmy Army vs Spirit
The teams Barmy Army and Spirit who lost in the semi-finals had a chance to finish in the 3rd place. Barmy Army won the toss and opted to bat first. And it was a complete run-fest. Laura Wolvaardt brought up her 2nd fifty (51 off 41) of the tournament, whereas Dottin smashed a huge ton. At a strike rate of 209.43, she scored 111 off 53 deliveries including 9 sixes, and helped Barmy Army to reach 182/6. The English pair of Ecclestone (3/24) and Dunkley (2/35) are the only bowlers for Spirit who managed to pick up wickets.
When it seemed Barmy Army had put up a winning total on the board, Dunkley had other plans. She led the batting and tonked an unbeaten 123 off 73. Captain Carey also played a fine hand of 14 off just 4 balls in the end and Spirit chased it down with ease. They thrashed Barmy Army by 6 wickets. Tara Norris and Fatima Sana scalped a couple of wickets.
And Dunkley undoubtedly won the Player of the Match for her all-round domination of 123* off 73 and 2/35.
Barmy Army – 182/6 (20) D. Dottin 111 (53), L. Wolvaardt 51 (41); S. Ecclestone 3/24 (4), S. Dunkley 2/35 (4)
Spirit – 183/4 (18.5) S. Dunkley 123* (73), S. Bryce 30 (34); T. Norris 2/32 (4), F. Sana 2/55 (3.5)
FINAL– Falcons vs Tornadoes
In the final of the inaugural season of Fairbreak Invitational, Falcons and Tornadoes were chasing the ultimate glory. Tornadoes won the toss and opted to bowl first. And they got a brilliant start. Thailand's Chanida Sutthiruang departed both the openers Athapaththu and Wyatt who had 100+ runs opening partnership in the SF game. From 59-4, Marizanne Kapp and Mariko Hill stitched an unbeaten 92 partnership. Kapp who was playing her 3rd back-to-back T20 league finals scored a brilliant 67 off 37 in a crunch situation and took Falcons to 151/4.
Kapp’s Perth Scorchers teammate Devine was also not shy of showing her muscle power and tonked yet another half-century. When Tornadoes seemed cruising, Tippoch ended the opening partnership on 76. But Kalis (44 off 41) kept scoring runs and weaved another 50-run partnership with skipper Taylor before Kapp dismissed her. But Luus (18* off 9) finished things off in style with a glorious boundary in the 1st ball of the last over and saw her team home. Tornadoes won the game and Fairbreak title by 8 wickets.
Although there was no Indian player participation in this tournament, former India player and Asia Cup-winning coach (with Bangladesh) Anju Jain was the head coach of the victorious Tornadoes team.
Marizanne Kapp who couldn’t play in the whole tournament until the knockouts of her illness produced an inspiring all-round performance of 67* off 37 and 1/33 and deservedly won the Player of the Match award. And this was not only her 3rd consecutive final of the leagues but also the 3rd POTM award of the finals as well (finals of Hundred, WBBL, and Fairbreak).
Falcons – 151/4 (20) M. Kapp 67* (37), M. Hill 30* (34); C. Sutthiruang 2/19 (3), W. Duraisingam 0/24 (4)
Tornadoes - 152/2 (19.1) S. Devine 51 (35), S. Kalis 44 (41); S. Tippoch 1/30 (4), M. Kapp 1/33 (4)
Highest run-scorer: Chamari Athpaththu (Falcons) - 313 runs
Highest wicket-taker: Sophie Ecclestone (Spirit) - 17 wickets
Team of the Tournament
Chamari Athapaththu (Falcons), Danni Wyatt (Falcons), Sterre Kalis (Tornadoes), Deandra Dottin (Barmy Army), Nicola Carey (Spirit), Hayley Matthews (Warriors), Georgia Redmayne (Warriors), Sita Rana Magar (Tornadoes), Sophie Ecclestone (Spirit), Rumana Ahmed (Barmy Army), Winifred Duraisingam (Tornadoes), Ayabonga Khaka (Spirit), Anju Gurung (Falcons).
The gains and impact of the Fairbreak Invitational tournament
It has been a great platform for the associate players to showcase their ability and pick up the brains of the legendary players. Wini Duraisingam, Sita Rana Magar, Anju Gurung, Geetika Kodali, Henriette Ishimwe, and Shizuka Miyaji have stolen the show with their exceptional bowling. Batters like Natthakhan Chantham, Sarah Bryce, and Sterre Kalis were also not far behind to show their class to the world with the bat. In the match where Chantham scored a half-century, she said in the press conference how observing Nicola Carey’s batting helped her to evolve her game. How this initiative has helped Japan’s 40-yr-old left-arm orthodox Shizuka Miyaji to meet and share the platform with her idol Sophie Ecclestone, bowled alongside her. And it’s noteworthy that 7 of the 19 POTMs were won by the associate players.
These heart-warming stories of the associate players, and their experience gained by competing with the world's best is the main purpose of this tournament. But the players from the full members who don't get chances to play in the main squad in the likes of Australia’s Georgia Redmayne, Grace Harris, Elyse Villani, the Sri Lankans Chamari Athpaththu, Prabodhani who didn't get a chance to play the World Cup proved their worth in the front world.
The concluding note should be a few positive lines from a Fairbreak interview of UAE’s star player Esha Oza, “Over the years, if this keeps happening, there will be a time when full member players and associate member players will be at the same level, and that’s when women’s international cricket will go to a different level.”