The Blaze’s three England stars returned to seal qualification to the Charlotte Edwards Cup Final at Worcester next Saturday. Needing a bonus point win to secure the top spot with a game to spare, they steamrollered a Sunrisers side still looking for some form. Having won the toss, the Blaze posted 198 for six, with Nat Sciver-Brunt top scoring with 58 from 30 balls, with contributions off 43 not out from Sarah Glenn and 41 from Tammy Beaumont. The Blaze ran out comfortable winners with an 85-run win, as The Blaze bowlers shared the spoil of Sunrisers’ wickets and the visitors were only able to muster 114 all out from their allotted overs.
Sunrisers might have been expecting a different story when Eva Gray bowled Sarah Bryce from the fourth ball of the game. But, instead, Sciver-Brunt, who will return to the West Bridgford ground in 18 days with England as they get the only women’s Ashes Test of the series, strode out to the middle looking in the mood for scoring big runs.
Like Beaumont, Sciver-Brunt looked in imperious touch, timing the ball well again. It boded well for England and was a torrid time for the Sunrisers fielders, who had few answers as the large boundaries made covering the ground difficult. The two internationals would not miss out. At the end of the powerplay, The Blaze were 68 for one, the highest score by an East Midlands side in either the Kia Super League or Charlotte Edwards Cup.
Trent Bridge has a reputation for mammoth scores, and the Sunrisers felt like they were on the receiving end of one. At the halfway point, The Blaze were 112 for two; Sciver-brunt had found Jo Gardner on the deep square-leg boundary to hand Abtaha Maqsood the first of her two wickets.
It should have slowed down the scoring, and when Kate Coppack removed Beaumont and Marie Kelly in the twelfth over, they would have felt like they were back in the game; however, the dot balls were few and far between. There were 22 balls between the 18th and 19th boundaries; nine were dot balls, two of which were wicket balls. However, the Blaze milked the runs available, and Glenn took advantage of the bad balls finishing unbeaten on 43 from 29 balls.
It was never going to be an easy chase for the Sunrisers; they never really got going as The Blaze took regular wickets, and it felt like a big knock from Dane van Niekerk or Grace Scrivens, they had too much to do and Scrivens with 20 from 25 balls would be the Sunrisers, top scorer.
Flo Miller was the only batter who could claim to be unlucky when she was run out as Gordon diverted the ball onto the stumps with the non-striker out of her ground.
The Blaze have one group game at Cardiff against Western Storm on Wednesday to fine-tune before the final at Worcester on Saturday.
It is again disappointing for Sunrisers who are still looking to find their feet in any competition; they are still looking for that missing link that will see them become more competitive.