20th Match, Leicester, May 10, 2023, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
(5/50 ov, T:210) 23/0

No result


Heather Knight's bid to step up Ashes preparation curtailed by Western Storm washout

Nadine de Klerk backs up last weekend's bowling exploits for The Blaze with top score of 43

Heather Knight batted on home soil for the first time since last July  •  PA Images via Getty Images

Heather Knight batted on home soil for the first time since last July  •  PA Images via Getty Images

No result: Western Storm 23 for 0 (Griffiths 14*, Knight 5*) vs The Blaze 209 for 9 (de Klerk 43, Skelton 2-23, Gibson 2-26, Griffiths 2-34)
England captain Heather Knight saw her return to domestic action curtailed by the weather as Western Storm's Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy match against The Blaze at Leicester was abandoned just beyond the halfway stage, both sides taking two points each.
Knight, preparing to lead England in this summer's home Ashes series against Australia, was just five overs into her first bat on home soil since July last year when showers gave way to heavy rain.
Knight missed a large part of last season because of a hip injury for which she later had surgery and played in this year's inaugural Women's Premier League in India following a return to international action in the winter.
She did not bowl as The Blaze posted 209 for 9 from their 50 overs but opened the batting for Storm alongside Alex Griffiths and was 5 not out with her side 23 without loss when bad weather arrived.
The multi-format Ashes series begins with a Test match at Trent Bridge on June 22, preceded by a red-ball match between England and Australia A in Derby a week earlier.
Today's abandonment meant both The Blaze and Storm have suffered two no-results in their first five matches in the women's regional 50-over competition, although The Blaze have won all three completed matches to lead the early season table.
Storm would have fancied ending that run after restricting the home side to what was probably a sub-par score, even though conditions favoured the bowlers with the ball swinging under the cloud cover.
South Africa's Nadine de Klerk, their star with the ball in a career-best 7 for 33 against Northern Diamonds last weekend, top-scored with 43 for The Blaze, Georgie Boyce making 34. Danielle Gibson, Chloe Skelton and Griffths took two wickets each for Western Storm.
The Blaze made a terrible start after being put in, losing leading-scorer Tammy Beaumont in the third over and opening partner Marie Kelly in the fourth, each contributing only a single.
Beaumont would not have enjoyed watching her dismissal, bowled shouldering arms to an inswinging Gibson delivery that jagged back off the pitch. Kelly, pushing forward, edged Lauren Filer behind.
The third-wicket pairing of Boyce and Kathryn Bryce repaired the damage by adding 51 for the second wicket, helped by a generous number of wides, but after a half-hour stoppage for rain lost Bryce to a catch at slip off the medium pace of Mollie Robbins.
Sarah Bryce helped Boyce keep the scoreboard moving but from 93 for 3 in the 22nd over, The Blaze lost three wickets in as many overs to slip to 99 for 6.
Boyce was unlucky, jamming the bat down on a yorker-length delivery from Griffiths only for the ball to somehow squirm back onto the stumps. Then Sarah Glenn feathered a catch behind off Skelton's off-spin, and Bryce dragged one on to hand Griffiths a second success.
The Blaze looked in danger of going down cheaply at 110 for 7 when Lucy Higham chopped straight to backward point but a combination of de Klerk's quality and a strong showing from the tail almost doubled the total in the remaining 23 overs.
Sophie Munro punched a valuable 24 off 40 balls including a pulled six off Filer and after de Klerk had been bowled attempting to slog-sweep Gibson, skipper Kirstie Gordon and Grace Ballinger added 21 off the last 21 balls to take the total beyond 200.

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