|Charlotte Edwards Cup, Edgbaston, Birmingham
|Central Sparks 142-9 (20 overs): A Jones 45; Dean 3-27, Elwiss 2-36
|Southern Vipers 135-8 (20 overs): Wyatt 68; Ellis 4-29 Burns 3-26.
|Central Sparks won by seven runs
Bethan Ellis and Erin Burns took seven wickets between them as Central Sparks beat Southern Vipers by seven runs to keep their hopes of reaching Finals Day in the Charlotte Edwards Cup alive.
England wicketkeeper Amy Jones hit 45 from 34 balls as the Sparks posted 142-9 in their 20 overs at Edgbaston.
And, despite a superb 68 from Dani Wyatt, the visitors struggled against the hosts’ spin attack, reaching 135-8.
The top three teams will feature in Finals Day on Saturday, 10 June.
It will take place at Worcester’s New Road, with the teams finishing second and third in the eight-team group meeting to decide who faces the group winners in the final.
Southern Vipers remain in third place despite defeat, while a second victory in five means Sparks move up to sixth spot – but need to win both their remaining fixtures and hope other results go their way to progress.
Amy Jones and Eve Jones (19 from 14) got the hosts off to a sparkling start, as they raced to 41 after four overs, but Amy Jones became the first of Charlie Dean’s trio of clean-bowled victims and that triggered a spell of three wickets in nine balls.
Dean removed Davina Perrin two balls later and Erin Burns followed, Dean pouching the catch off the miserly, superbly controlled bowling of left-arm spinner Linsey Smith (1-22).
Amy Jones rebuilt the innings with Abbey Freeborn (23) in a fourth-wicket partnership of 34 but, just as the Sparks began to accelerate the rate again, Jones chipped a Georgia Elwiss (2-36) delivery to mid-off and the momentum was lost.
Five more wickets fell as Sparks struggled, setting 143 for victory when a higher total had looked very much on the cards.
In reply, Ella McCaughan (26 from 23) got Vipers off to a great start, but even a magnificent knock from Wyatt could not get them over the line – with some miserly and canny spin bowling doing the damage.
The match was played as the first part of a double-header, with Birmingham Bears taking on Notts Outlaws in the T20 Blast in the evening.