Southern Vipers claimed a place at next Sunday’s Finals Day in the Charlotte Edwards Cup with a last-ball victory over Lightning at the Incora County Ground, Derby.

Paige Scholfield top scored with an unbeaten 41 from 36 balls, sending her side through when she drove Grace Ballinger past extra cover to run a single off the last delivery, having arrived at the final over needing nine to win chasing 125.

Lightning were restricted to 124 for nine from their 20 overs as Georgia Elwiss and Tara Norris finished with three wickets each after Lauren Bell had picked up two in the Powerplay.  

Abbey Freeborn led the way with 27 from 29 balls, adding 44 for the fourth wicket with Teresa Graves (23), before Ella Claridge (20) and Kirstie Gordon (20) swelled the total with a seventh-wicket stand worth 37 from 25 balls.

But they paid for four dropped catches and 20 runs conceded in extras as Vipers overhauled their total with seven wickets in hand.

Bell struck important blows in the Powerplay as Sonia Odedra was caught at long on and Lucy Higham fell leg before wicket. Lightning had 35 on the board from the opening six but had also lost Beth Harmer.

Graves and Freeborn built steadily but the experienced Elwiss ended their progress, pushing one through a little wider as the latter made room for herself coming down the pitch for Carla Rudd to make the stumping. 

Lightning slid to 79 for six before Claridge, making only her second appearance for Lightning, and Gordon lifted the innings towards a beyond three figures, clearing the midwicket rope off a free hit for six.

Needing 6.25 runs per over, Vipers lost skipper Georgia Adams in the fifth but, at 39 for one from six, were up with the rate and looked favourites at 59 for two from 10, despite Norris departing when she missed a reverse sweep attempt, but a couple of boundaries by Scholfield off Gordon brought the target down to 45 from seven.

A chance put down off Elwiss cost only a single before Gordon beat her in the flight with her left-arm spin to keep Lightning in with a chance with 24 needed from 22 balls.

Needing nine from the last over, Vipers benefited from a no-ball bowled by Ballinger, picking up two off the free hit before Scholfield struck the winning run.

Looking to win their third trophy in five years in the women’s game, Vipers will face Northern Diamonds in the eliminator for the chance to take on South East Stars in the final.