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MATCH REPORT | STORM v SUNRISERS

Match report provided by the ECB Reporters Network



Sophia Smale played a starring role with the ball as Western Storm produced an impressive performance in the field to beat Sunrisers by 28 runs in a low-scoring Charlotte Edwards Cup match at the Cooper Associates Ground in Taunton.


The England under-19 spinner claimed three wickets in a devastating eight-ball burst and took two catches to tip the scales in Storm's favour. On-loan seamer Ellie Anderson finished with startling figures of 4-9 from 2.4 overs and England senior international Lauren Filer took 3-19 as Sunrisers, chasing a target of 135, were bowled out for 106 in 17.4 overs.


Put into bat, Storm were indebted to skipper Sophie Luff, who top-scored with 41 and shared in a progressive fourth-wicket partnership of 43 with Amanda-Jade Wellington, who contributed a useful 20. Although they lost wickets at regular intervals, Eva Gray, Sophie Munro and Mady Villiers taking two apiece, the home side nevertheless managed to raise 134-8 in their 20 overs.


It proved enough to secure Storm their first win in five games in the short format and bring Sunrisers back down to earth with a bump just 48 hours after they beaten Southern Vipers to register their first victory in three seasons.


If the powerplay has proved something of an Achilles heel for Storm this season, Nat Wraith and Emma Corney appeared unconcerned by the fact, mustering five boundaries between them in an opening stand of 25 in 3.4 overs. But Corney then played back to a fullish delivery from Jodi Grewcock and was bowled via an inside edge for 10 to afford Sunrisers a breakthrough.


Fully recovered from the concussion she suffered on the same ground a fortnight earlier, the returning Fran Wilson helped Wraith advance the score to 37-1 at the end of the powerplay in the face of tight bowling from off spinner Villiers. 


It was Munro who benefitted from pressure exerted by spin, the seamer striking twice in the space of three balls to reduce the home side to 44-3 in the eighth over. Effectively tied down, Wilson chanced her arm  and holed out to long-on for nine, while Wraith sent a leading edge to mid-wicket and departed for 17 to alter the complexion of the contest. 


Promoted up the order following a series of eye-catching cameos, Wellington was joined by skipper Luff, these two entrusted with the task of rebuilding. When Luff glanced Munro for a leg-side four to take her team to 57-3 at halfway, it represented Storm's first boundary for six overs. 


Grewcock proved difficult to score against, her four overs costing a mere 18 runs, but acceleration eventually arrived in the twelfth, Wellington plundering successive fours at the expense of Gray in an over that yielded 13 runs. But the burgeoning fourth wicket alliance was ended by Villiers, Wellington reaching forward in pursuit of a leg-side wide and being comprehensively stumped by Amara Carr, having contributed a 15-ball 20 in a stand of 43 in 5.3 overs. 


When Alex Griffiths missed a straight delivery and was bowled by Gray for four in the sixteenth, Storm were 99-5 and in danger of falling short. Nic Hancock then had Issy Wong held at long-on for seven, at which point Luff represented Storm's last best hope. Characterised by clever placement and frenetic running, her spirited 34-ball innings at least served to carry the home side to a respectable total before she hoisted Villiers to deep backward square and departed with the score on 122-7 in the eighteenth.


It quickly became apparent that Storm had scored sufficient runs. Lauren Filer struck a crucial early blow, removing Sunrisers skipper Grace Scrivens in the first over, while fellow opener Jo Gardner followed soon afterwards, driving Ellie Anderson to mid-on with the score on nine.


Filer made further in-roads in the fifth, Lissy Macleod top-edging a pull shot to Griffiths in the slips and becoming the third batter to depart for a single-figure score as the visitors lurched to 22-3. Griffith continued to carry the fight to Storm though, helping herself to four successive boundaries at the expense of Wong as Sunrisers posted 42-3 in the powerplay.


But any hope of a concerted recovery was undermined by Smale, who claimed three wickets in eight balls to reduce Sunrisers to 59-6 at the halfway point. Villiers skied a catch to cover, Grewcock lost her off stump to the next delivery and Griffith, having raised 26 at a run-a-ball with five boundaries, holed out to deep mid-wicket as Storm assumed control.


Miller and Carr made Storm work for victory, the seventh wicket pair adding 35 in six overs to keep the contest alive. But the required rate was approaching 10 when Miller was held in the deep off Anderson, having scored 28 from 30 balls. Filer then accounted for Gray and Anderson mopped up the tail, claiming three wickets in seven balls to force a premature conclusion.

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