Match Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network
South East Stars won by 56 runs
BRYONY Smith struck a belligerent half-century as defending champions South East Stars headed into Charlotte Edwards Cup final’s day on Saturday with a comfortable 56-run win over Sunrisers at Guildford.
Smith pummelled exactly 50 from just 30 balls, sharing an opening stand of 87 with Aylish Cranstone as the hosts rattled up 183-9, their best score in the competition and just short of the overall record of 186 set by Thunder last season.
The Stars’ skipper then returned two for 17 while Kalea Moore took two for 16 as Sunrisers were bowled out for 127 in reply despite 31 from Amara Carr for the visitors.
Victory means Stars top the group ahead of Central Sparks who they will meet in the playoff game to start final’s day at Wantage Road.
Smith chose to bat on winning the toss and the all-rounder and the tournament’s leading run scorer Cranstone gorged on some loose powerplay bowling from the Sunrisers.
Smith swept viciously and played the pull shot to great effect to clear the ropes four times, while Cranstone hit four fours off the second over bowled by Naomi Dattani.
The hosts raised 81 without loss from the powerplay and Smith raced to 50 before spooning a catch to Scarlett Hughes off the bowling of Kelly Castle.
It was the beginning of a frugal spell from Castle of two for 14, during which she also caught and bowled Kira Chathli and the Sunrisers’ skipper was sharp in the field too, running out Alice Capsey for nought with a direct hit from mid-off.
Cranstone (32) perished when she mishit an attempted scoop off Dattani (two for 30) to wicketkeeper Amara Carr, but Emma Jones hit one six clean out the ground in a whirlwind 33 from 17, as, despite a late flurry of wickets, Stars posted a huge total.
Sunrisers made the worst possible start when Hughes hit the first ball of their reply from Moore to Cranstone at cover and the spinner struck again in her next over, trapping Grace Scrivens lbw.
In-form Dattani also didn’t detain for long, skying a ball from Alexa Stonehouse to Capsey, leaving the visitors 23-3.
Carr cleared the ropes to top score, but neither her enterprise or Mady Villiers’ cameo of 22 were enough to redress the balance and when Mia Rogers (20) holed out in the deep off Phoebe Franklin the game was up for Sunrisers.