Smith-Chathli stands sets up Stars to power into Rachael Heyhoe Flint eliminator

Sparks’ hopes evaporate in steep chase as Davidson-Richards, McDonald-Gay share six

ECB Reporters Network

16-Sep-2023 • 15 hrs ago

Bryony Smith thumped 97 off 81 balls  •  Getty Images

South East Stars 283 for 7 (Smith 97, Chathli 61) beat Central Sparks 131 (Davidson-Richards 3-20, McDonald-Gay 3-27) by 152 runs

South East Stars secured qualification in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy in the most emphatic style with a 152-run victory over Central Sparks in a winner-takes-all clash at Edgbaston.

Stars captain Bryony Smith led from the front with a blistering 97 from 81 balls, with ten fours, three sixes, and supported by Kira Chathli (61 off 92) powered her team to a hefty 283 for 7. Spinners Hannah Baker (2 for 46) and Georgia Davis (2 for 47) imposed some mid-innings control for Sparks.

Sparks would have qualified themselves if they had chased down the target but their reply never took flight. Only Maddy Green, with 39 off 48 balls, passed 20 against a disciplined attack led by Alice Davidson-Richards and Ryana MacDonald-Gay, who both claimed three-fors.

Put in, Stars lost an early wicket when Alexa Stonehouse skied a slog at Emily Arlott, but it was an isolated success with the new ball for the bowlers as Chathli and Smith added 125 in 21 overs for the second wicket.

After Chathli chipped Baker to mid-off and Smith fell three short of a deserved century when she top-edged Davis to midwicket, the innings lost momentum in the middle before a late fillip came from Chloe Hill (34 off 24) and Maddie Blinkhorn-Jones. They batted intelligently to add 57 in 48 balls for the eighth wicket to lift the total from around par to imposing.

Under some scoreboard pressure, Sparks needed a strong platform but lost both openers in three balls from McDonald-Gay. Eve Jones was strangled down the leg side and then Bethan Ellis edged a lovely outswinger to wicketkeeper Chathli.

Green and Abi Freeborn counterattacked with brief success to take the score to 50 in ten overs but the departure of Freeborn, lbw to Paige Scholfield, triggered a collapse. Davidson-Richards removed Ami Campbell, caught at deep midwicket, and Katie George who top-edged a scoop and was well caught by Chathli running back towards fine leg.

When Green, having hit six fours, was bowled by Danielle Gregory, it was 102 for 7. Sparks needed something miraculous from their tail but Stars closed the game out without alarms.

Bryony SmithKira ChathliAlice Davidson-RichardsRyana MacDonald-GaySouth East StarsCentral SparksSE Stars vs SparksRachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

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