Charlotte Edwards Cup, South East Stars v Western Storm, Beckenham, 21 May 2022 – South East Stars 148-3 beat Western Storm 145-6 by 7 wickets with an over to spare
Aylish Cranstone struck an unbeaten 66 off 49 balls to lead South East Stars to victory against Western Storm at Beckenham on Saturday.
Cranstone batted through the Stars pursuit of 146, which started breezily but hit a roadblock when offspinner Claire Nicholas had Bryony Smith caught trying to hit across the line, before bowling promising youngster Alice Capsey with the very next ball.
When Phoebe Franklin was caught down the ground off the bowling of Heather Knight in the seventh over, 106 runs were needed off 80 balls and it was game on.
But Cranstone and Kalea Moore (57* off 48 balls), promoted up the order due to a hand injury to Alice Davidson-Richards, put on a composed unbroken stand of 108 to see Stars home with an over to spare. Nicholas and Knight gave little away, but Storm’s other bowlers were unable to match their frugality as the fourth-wicket pair used the crease effectively and batted inventively to keep the run-rate ticking over.
Storm could at least take one major positive, as Katie George bowled for Storm for the first time since 2020. A bowling all-rounder, George has been unable to utilise her primary skill in matches for a year due to injuries.
Earlier, Stars won the toss and chose to bowl. Fi Morris and Nicholas returned to the Storm side in place of Niamh Holland and Lauren Filer. Georgia Hennessy and Knight put on 81 for Storm’s first wicket, before the latter was dismissed for 35 off 24 balls. Hennessy reached her fifty in 51 balls, but was caught and bowled immediately after. She struggled to find the gaps in the infield during her innings and will be frustrated not to have pushed on and upped the scoring rate.
Having been 80 without loss after 11 overs, Storm will be disappointed to have ended on 145 for 6, representing only 65 runs off the final 9 overs despite the platform that had been set. Dani Gibson injected some power with a four and a six off consecutive balls, but Nat Wraith (27 off 16 against Sunrisers last week) and Katie George (34 off 23 in the same game) didn’t arrive at the crease until the final over. Alex Griffiths, who hit an unbeaten 25 off 13 against Sunrisers, didn’t even bat. These are tactical errors which Storm should reflect on going forward – it is so important when setting a target in T20 cricket that in-form, fast-scoring batters face as many balls as possible.
Elsewhere in Group A, Amy Jones struck 80 off 49 balls as Central Sparks brushed aside Sunrisers to make it three wins from three and top the group.
In Group B, Southern Vipers pulled off a comeback win against Northern Diamonds, while Lightning won their first Charlotte Edwards Cup match, beating Thunder by five wickets. These results are useful for Storm because it means that three teams in the group have a win apiece, which is helpful as Storm pursue a minimum of the best second-placed spot which would see them reach finals day, although they almost certainly need to win all three of their remaining matches.
Storm’s next match is at home to Sunrisers at Taunton on Sunday, starting at 11am. This match is the first part of a double-header also featuring Somerset’s Vitality Blast match against Essex – ticket-holders are entitled to attend both matches so do go along and support the Storm (the team, not the weather!)