England all-rounder Elwiss struck her first List A century since 2013 and her highest format score with a sublime 112 before defending eight from the final over, writes ALEX SMITH.
Sunrisers, still yet to win in the format, smashed their highest score in the competition and had they been successful their chase of 309 would have been the highest in English domestic cricket - 309 on a belting Cloudfm County Ground pitch in Chelmsfor.
Vipers are now confirmed a place in the Eliminator, with victory over Northern Diamonds on Saturday enough to send them straight to the final.
Ella McCaughan got Vipers, who had been stuck in, off to a storming start with 23 off 12 balls before chipping to cover. That brought in Maia Bouchier who built a 45-run stand with Georgia Adams before chipping a full toss to deep midwicket.
Elwiss and Adams took very few risks in reaching half-centuries – Elwiss first off 63 balls and Adams off 73 deliveries, which included a pulled six – in quick succession, followed almost immediately by the 105-ball 100 partnership.
Adams ticked an edge behind without adding to 50 but that didn’t stop Elwiss’ rampage – with Gaby Lewis helping with a 44-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Naomi Dattani took two wickets in two balls – Lewis bowled by an in ducker and Emily Windsor was bounced – but Paige Scholfield restarted things again with 62 alongside Elwiss.
Elwiss skipped through the 80s with a couple of offside boundaries but laboured through the 90s with singles before three figures were completed in 108 balls.
Scholfield slapped to cover, Tara Norris was bowled, Carla Rudd was run out and Lauren Bell was stumped as Elwiss ended up on 112.
An imposing chase seemed much easier as Cordelia Griffith and Grace Scrivens smoothly chipped 75 runs off with little worry.
Scrivens was bowled by Adams for an enterprising 30 but Griffith and Lissy Macleod took hold of the chase. Griffith, on the back of two fifties in three innings, reached the milestone again in 48 balls.
She and Macleod totted up 112, a record partnership for the Sunrisers, as a maiden victory looked in their grasp.
Even after Griffith was lbw to Lauren Bell nine short of a deserved century, Macleod was lbw to Elwiss for a sensational 79, Dattani was caught, Kelly Castle was stumped and Jo Gardner was caught, Sunrisers looked in control of the chase.
Fran Wilson was the catalyst for that hope with an unbeaten 65 off 51 balls. But needing eight to win off the final, and then six off the final ball, the England batter could only sweep the final delivery for four.
Elwiss said: ‘It was probably one of the most exciting games of cricket I’ve been involved in for a while. You generally think with 300 runs on the board you are tuned in for a win!
‘They made it tough for us out there and it was neck and neck throughout but thankfully we just came out on the right side. There were points in the last 10 overs they had it nailed.
‘I back myself and I knew the ball was coming out nicely in my second spell. I have bowled at Fran a lot over the years so I know her strengths and how to negate them.
‘i’ve felt like I owe this team a lot. I expect more of myself but to come out of a tough run is really pleasing.
‘I had to battle out there today but to get the runs is really pleasing and helping the side is the most pleasing thing.’