The Blaze 198 for 6 (Sciver-Brunt 58, Gray 2-29) beat Sunrisers 114 (Glenn 2-9, de Klerk 2-10) by 84 runs
The Blaze maintained their 100% record in the Charlotte Edwards Cup as a crushing defeat of Sunrisers saw them clinch a direct route to the final at Worcester next Saturday with England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt starring with bat and ball at a sun-drenched Trent Bridge.
Sciver-Brunt smashed 58 from 30 balls and took 2 for 16 as winless Sunrisers were bowled out for 114 in reply to the Blaze’s 198 for 6, giving the east midlands side a bonus-point victory to make their position as group leaders unassailable, meaning they avoid the semi-final eliminator at Finals Day.
England team-mates Sarah Glenn, with 43 not out from 29 balls and two wickets for just nine runs from her legbreaks, and Tammy Beaumont (41 from 30) delivered as well, with overseas player Nadine de Klerk boosting her tally to 13 as the competition’s leading wicket-taker, the South African taking 2 for 10 from three overs, strike bowler Sophie Munro grabbing 2 for 18.
Eva Gray, Kate Coppack and Abtaha Maqsood picked up two wickets each for the Sunrisers, for whom England Under-19 captain Grace Scrivens top-scored with 20.
Opting to bat first, the Blaze lost Sarah Bryce – Friday’s matchwinner against Northern Diamonds with 67 from 43 balls – for effectively a first-ball duck after she inside-edged Gray on to her stumps, having watched two leg-side deliveries called as wides. Otherwise, the powerplay could hardly have been more one-sided as Beaumont and Sciver-Brunt peppered a fully-extended Trent Bridge boundary as first on the card in a double-header ahead of Notts Outlaws’ meeting Lancashire Lightning.
They powered the Blaze to 77 for 1 from the opening six overs, a team record not only under their new identity but as Lightning and Loughborough Lightning too.
Sciver-Brunt completed her second Blaze half-century and looked in the mood for more as she and Beaumont added 102 in 53 balls for the second wicket, but after sweeping Maqsood’s legspin for her first six, perished attempting a repeat, finding deep square leg, Blaze reaching halfway at 112 for 2.
A fine over from Coppack then changed the tone of the innings as the right-arm seamer had Beaumont leg before sweeping and dismissed Marie Kelly by the same method as the right-hander swung across the line for a second-ball duck. It took three lean overs before Glenn rediscovered the tempo with three boundaries in the same Jo Gardner over as the Blaze moved to 149 for 4 from 15.
Maqsood picked up a second wicket as Georgie Boyce was stumped but Glenn, who survived difficult chances on 29 and 40 on the way a career-best score in this format, added 35 in 21 balls with de Klerk before the South African top-edged Gray to mid-off, helping Blaze post the third-highest total in the competition this season.
It put Sunrisers under scoreboard pressure from the start and though 46 runs in the powerplay was respectable they came at a cost of three important wickets as Mady Villiers chipped Glenn’s legspin straight to mid-off, Alice Macleod was pinned in front by Sciver-Brunt and South African Dane Van Niekerk top-edged to cover in the same over.
At 64 for 4, southeast regional side Sunrisers were well behind the required rate at the halfway stage and seen Amara Carr depart to Glenn as skipper Kirstie Gordon took a good catch running round from midwicket.
Three wickets in the space of five balls hastened the inevitable Blaze win as Florence Miller was run out at the non-striker’s end before de Klerk took two in three balls to remove Gardner leg before and Scrivens, the England Under-19 captain, who batted nicely before skying one to midwicket.
Grace Ballinger had Gray caught at short fine leg before Coppack and Kelly Castle held things up, adding 28 in a little under five overs before Munro bowled both in the final over.