ECB Reporters Network
Central Sparks 153 for 5 (A Jones 80) beat Sunrisers 129 for 8 (Dattani 51) by 24 runs
England's Amy Jones left several dents in Edgbaston after her effortless 80 off 49 balls set up Central Sparks' 24-run victory against Sunrisers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.
Sparks' performance in the field extinguished any sign of life from Sunrisers. Impressive spells from England legspinner Sarah Glenn, who took 2 for 14 from her four overs, and youngsters Hannah Baker and Grace Potts meant that Sparks chipped away with regular wickets in the chase, defending their 153 with relative ease.
Sunrisers, who came in as underdogs, proved to be tougher opponents than Sparks, the early leaders of the group, might have expected.
With no wins under their belt, Sunrisers limited Sparks to an uncharacteristically slow powerplay, largely thanks to Naomi Dattani who clean bowled pinch-hitter Issy Wong in the second over.
With the wealth of experience provided by England wicketkeeper Jones, this angst was only temporary. Jones racked up 80 off 49, keeping the Edgbaston crowd on their toes with six sixes, all through the leg side. Aided by some dropped catches from the Sunrisers, the pair charged ahead as Abbey Freeborn's entrance injected some much-needed energy into the innings.
"It's great to get the win," Jones said. "That's the most important thing. Batting wise, it was quite a tricky start actually. Their bowlers bowled really well, it was quite hard to get them away. Abbey Freeborn came in and just injected a bit of energy. I bounced off that a bit and then just freed up and we did well finding the boundaries towards the back the middle and back end."
Sparks finished on 153 for 5 - a healthy total, but not an insurmountable one for a Sunrisers side who posted had 160 against Western Storm on Wednesday.
Whilst openers Cordialla Griffith and Grace Scrivens showed fighting spirit in the powerplay, Sparks reinforced their dominance in Group A. The promising 18-year-old Scrivens scored quickly from the outset she fell to Emily Arlott off the final ball of the powerplay and Glenn bowled Griffith with the first of the seventh over.
Sunrisers failed to inject pace into their innings and their hopes disappeared as wickets fell consistently. A gutsy half-century from Dattani kept Sparks on edge and teased a repeat of Wednesday's dramatic final-ball finish, but ultimately it was not enough to rescue Sunrisers.