MATCH REPORT | SUNRISERS v BLAZE
Match Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network
Sunrisers vs The Blaze at the Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford
Sunrisers 159 lost to The Blaze 160/7 by three wickets
Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Glenn showed their international quality as The Blaze maintained their perfect start to the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with a thrilling low-scoring three-wicket victory over Sunrisers.
Leg spinner Glenn bamboozled Sunrisers with a brilliant four for 22 before striking 30 in a 72-run partnership with Beaumont – who scored 64 on a tricky pitch to remind England selectors of her quality.
Sunrisers, who had finally broken their 20-game losing streak in the competition last week, set The Blaze 160 and had them 22 for four after Kate Coppack’s devilish new-ball spell.
But Beaumont and Glenn secured the wobble before Sophie Munro and Nadine de Klerk finished the job with 14.4 overs to spare.
Grace Scrivens and Cordelia Griffith carefully navigated the new ball by putting on 66 for the first wicket, after Sunrisers had chosen to bat.
At the time it had felt like a scratchy partnership, especially after Scrivens’ high-quality 67 last week, but it would soon prove much-needed grit.
Scrivens’ departure, for 39, began a slide to 159 all out, which proved Glenn’s incredible talent as much as a difficult pitch to score runs quickly.
Glenn waited until her third over before she had Scrivens stumped before 18-year-old Jodi Grewcock was bowled attempting to sweep.
Mady Villiers was next as the tennis ball bounce didn’t allow her to get over a delivery and looped to mid-wicket before Griffith – who had been excellent in her 43 – was leg before.
With Sunrisers now 100 for four, it turned to Kirstie Gordon to replace Glenn – and she had Amara Carr stumped and Kelly Castle caught behind to continue the right-to-left-spin bonanza from the River End. Gordon returned two for 24.
Meanwhile from the Hayes Close End, Munro’s pace had the enterprising Saskia Horley caught off a full toss and Jo Gardner pinned in front.
Coppack and Abtaha Maqsood frustrated The Blaze by putting on 20 for the last wicket – the second-highest stand of the innings – with Katherine Bryce grabbing the last two scalps.
The 160 to win, didn’t look hugely challenging, but Coppack’s stunning opening spell saw The Blaze slide to 22 for four.
The fast bowler, who is a lawyer during the week, had Marie Kelly caught after a steepling leading edge, the opening batter’s second two-ball duck of the competition.
Eva Gray found Georgie Boyce nibbling outside off stump before Coppack pocketed the Bryce sisters in successive overs – firstly Katherine edged a wide one behind and then Sarah sliced a full toss to point.
Beaumont, who had been dropped herself, had been watching helpless from the other end but finally found an accomplice in Glenn, as the duo made the batting conditions look much easier.
The pair used power to find gaps, with Beaumont adding flicky trickery, in a 72-run stand in just 64 balls, before Glenn picked out deep square leg.
South African De Klerk helped add 25 as Beaumont reached her classy half-century in 56 deliveries – things looked in order.
Then Beaumont was stumped off Castle and Lucy Higham was leg before to Gardner in back-to-back overs to threaten to turn the game again.
But De Klerk and Munro knocked off the remaining 38 runs with little fuss to take The Blaze two from two.