In the Group A clash at Grace Road, Lightning won the toss and decided to bat first. Georgia Davis, Evelyn Jones and Issy Wong broke the back of the Lightning’s innings by dismantling them for 81 in 19.1 overs. Wong clean bowled Bethany Harmer and Sarah Bryce inside the powerplay and then Davis’ four wickets made sure that there was no fightback from Lightning. Number nine, Shachi Pai and number eleven Sophie Munro showed some fights but it was not enough. Ria Fackrell removed Pai on the first ball of the 20th over and Lightning were all out for 81. Munro remained unbeaten on 20.
In the chase, things looked pretty easy for Central Sparks but a double-wicket maiden by Munro added a twist to the tale. Some tight bowling by captain Kathryn Bryce and Teresa Graves led to Central Sparks scoring only nine runs off the powerplay. Captain Eve Jones formed a patient partnership of 46 runs with Gwenan Davies. When Davies got out in the 15th over, Central Sparks still needed 20 runs from five overs. Jones then kept her cool and led Sparks to a victory in the 19th over.
In another low scoring thriller in Taunton, Diamonds wobbled their way through to win the clash against Storm by one wicket. Chasing 107 to victory, Diamonds lost captain Hollie Armitage, in the very first over. Leah Dobson and Ami Campbell navigated through the powerplay but a double-wicket maiden by Alex Griffiths rocked the chase. When former England international Sarah Taylor was run out in the 11th over, their run chase looked all but done.
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Another English veteran Jenny Gunn came to crease when Diamonds needed 29 runs off the final five overs. In the penultimate over, the Diamonds lost Linsey Smith and Phoebe Graham and could only score four runs. When the scoeres were level Gunn hit for a four off the last ball to seal a thrilling win for her side.
Batting first, Storm could only manage to score 106 runs in their 20 overs. Alex MacDonald’s four wickets dented any hope of a big score for them. Katie George was the highest run-scorer for Storm as she scored 21 off 23 balls. Georgia Hennessy and captain Sophie Luff were both removed for second ball ducks by Smith and Phoebe Graham, respectively.
Elsewhere in Canterbury, South East Stars witnessed yet another batting masterclass by Vipers. Batting first, Stars lost Alice Davidson-Richards and captain Bryony Smith inside the powerplay. Alice Capsey and Phoebe Franklin steadied the innings with a partnership of 34 runs. After Franklin lost her wicket in the 10th over, none of the batters could add much to the total, with a shining exception of wicket-keeper Kira Chathli who score 30 runs off just 20 balls.
For Vipers, Charlotte Taylor took three wickets for just 12 runs and she was ably supported by Tara Norris, who took two wickets.
Given the batting firepower they have, even without England international Danielle Wyatt, the chase was always within the range for Vipers. The opening partnership of 89 runs in just nine overs between captain Georgia Adams and Maia Bouchier made sure there were no hiccups in the chase. Adams lost her wicket after scoring a 30-ball fifty but Bouchier marched on and hit the winning runs in the 16th over as she remained unbeaten on 53.
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The next round of the CE Cup will be played in August 2021.
Lightning 81 all out in 19.1 Overs (Sophie Munro 20, Shachi Pai 18; Georgia Davis 4/12) lost to Central Sparks 84/4 in 19 Overs (Gwenan Davies 31, Eve Jones 27; Sophie Munro 2/10) by six wickets
Western Storm 106/9 in 20 Overs (Katie George 21, Natasha Wraith 20; Alex MacDonald 4/17) lost to Northern Diamonds 110/9 in 20 Overs (Jenny Gunn 27*, Ami Campbell 15; Danielle Gibson 2/9) by one wicket
South East Stars 127/7 in 20 Overs (Kira Chathli 30, Alice Capsey 29; Charlotte Taylor 3/12) lost to Southern Vipers130/3 in 15.4 Overs (Maia Bouchier 53*, Georgia Adams 50; Bryony Smith 2/26) by seven wickets