AMY JONES left several dents in Edgbaston Stadium after an effortless half-century of 80 off 48 helped Central Sparks to a 23-run victory against Sunrisers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.
Jones added to Central Sparks final total of 153 but also her mammoth collection of runs this competition so far, now totalling 172. The grounds-staff and crowd were invited into the game as she thumped boundaries left-right-and-centre of them.
Sparks performance in the field extinguished any sign of life from the Sunrisers. Impressive spells from Glenn (2-14), and youngsters Hannah Baker (2-20) and Grace Potts (2-29) meant nothing could stop Sunrisers’ wickets being chipped away in the latter half of their innings.
Jones said: “Great to get the win, it’s the most important thing. Batting wise it was quite a tricky start actually. Their bowlers bowled really well, it was quite hard to get them away.
“Abbey Freeborn came in and just injected a bit of energy. I bounced off that a bit and then just freed up and we did well finding the boundaries towards the back the middle and back end so not a bad score on there, but we weren’t too sure to be honest if it was enough.
“We spoke before the game about underestimating them and not being overconfident kind of thing. We respected their bowlers but they just hit really good lengths. Even though there were short boundaries everywhere, it just felt hard to get the boundary at the start.
“It took us maybe a little bit too long to adapt to the wicket and then once we did we were we were flying them. It was a lower score than we’ve gotten before and which, so we knew we were going to have to bowl well to defend it.”
Sunrisers, who came into this match very much the underdogs, proved to be tougher than expected opponents for the leaders of the table, Central Sparks.
With no wins under their belt, Sunrisers unexpectedly reduced Sparks from the offset to an uncharacteristically slow powerplay, largely down to Naomi Dattani’s clean bowl of pinch-hitter Issy Wong in the second over.
With the wealth of experience provided by England wicketkeeper Amy Jones, this angst was only temporary. Jones racked up an epic 80 off 48, keeping the Edgbaston crowd on their toes with sixes all over the park. Aided by some dropped catches from the Sunrisers, the pair charged ahead as Abbey Freeborn’s entrance injected some much-needed energy into the innings.
Sparks finished on 153-5, not an impossible chase for Sunrisers who posted 160 against Western Storm on Wednesday.
Whilst openers Cordialla Griffith and Grace Scrivens showed fighting spirit in the powerplay, Sparks reinforced their dominance in Group A of the Charlotte Edwards Cup as Captain Eve Jones set a near perfect field restricting Sunrisers for a large part of their batting innings.
Entertaining power hitting from the very promising 18 year old Scrivens returned but could not survive the Sparks superior bowling attack. Sparks removed Sunrisers’ openers in two balls, ensuring further damage could not be done.
Sunrisers’ failed to inject pace into their innings and hopes disappeared as wickets fell consistently throughout the remaining overs. The superiority of Sparks field was clear as four players took two wickets each including youngest Spark Hannah Baker whose effective leg-spin signalled future talent.
A gutsy half-century from Dattani (51 off 32) kept Sparks on edge and teased a repeat of Wednesday’s dramatic final ball finish. Partners left Dattani steadily though and ultimately it was not enough to rescue Sunrisers who felt short by 23 runs.
The most youthful team in the Charlotte Edwards Cup could not match the Sparks bowling excellence, but a display of great cricket has left both teams with many positives to take forward.