Central Sparks play in their fourth Charlotte Edwards Cup game against Thunder at New Road in a T20 double header with the Worcestershire Rapids.
The Sparks come into the game having lost two consecutive games, after starting off their T20 campaign with a win over the Sunrisers two weeks ago.
With finals day for the Charlotte Edwards Cup being held at New Road, on Saturday 10 June, both the Sparks and Thunder need wins to book their place there.
Fixture: Central Sparks v Thunder
Competition: Charlotte Edwards Cup
Date: Monday 29 May 2023
Game start: 10.30am
Venue: New Road, Worcester
The Sparks have had a season full of promising performances so far, where sometimes they haven’t been able to get over the line. Sparks were beaten by three runs to the Northern Diamonds last Tuesday, then that was followed by a 56-run defeat against The Blaze, having opened their T20 account with a win prior to that. Performances have been to a good standard from Monday’s hosts, and Lloyd Tennant’s side have picked up wins that have shown the quality the side has.
They sit sixth in the Charlotte Edwards Cup table, needing to win their remaining four T20 fixtures to qualify for the knockout stage of this competition.
With the bowling performances that have been seen from Georgia Davis, Erin Burns & Grace Potts, along with Eve Jones’ consistency with bat in hand, there’s plenty for the Sparks to be cheerful about. Now, it’s just about turning those close performances into results.
There will be no Amy Jones, Emily Arlott or Issy Wong at New Road’s double header, so a chance for Chloe Brewer, Ria Fackrell on their return to the squad to make an impact. Also, Worcestershire’s own and academy prospect Ellie Anderson is involved in the initial 13-player-squad for Monday.
If the Sparks can produce a strong performance that has been seen against the likes of the Sunrisers, Southern Vipers at Hove, and the Diamonds at New Road back in April, then Tennant’s side will be onto a winner.
Thunder have struggled in the Charlotte Edwards Cup so far in 2023, having won just one of their three games so far. In comparison to Sparks, who have the same record, Thunder’s performances have been unlike them with some of the stars they have in their squad. The Sparks have played well in most games they’ve played.
Thunder’s last win came at Old Trafford over the Sunrisers, where they won by seven wickets. Thunder and Sparks met in May at Emirates Old Trafford where the game was tied after rain stopped play for a little under an hour.
Thunder will be without Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone, as they, like Amy Jones and Issy Wong, join up with the England squad for a busy international period.
Monday’s visitors still have the likes of Emma Lamb, Naomi Dattani and Liberty Heap in the ranks who could make a difference in Worcestershire.
In the most recent game between the two sides, the match was tied in Manchester, but the sides have shared points in previous Charlotte Edwards Cup fixtures.
Player to watch
The player to watch for Thunder is Mahika Gaur. The seam bowler performed well in the latest game between the two sides, where she was used at the death to bowl one of the final overs in which Sparks couldn’t close the game out.
She also put up a good number with the bat, with that not being her usual game. The 17-year-old can be a threat, with her bowling action, it has been known to put batters in difficult positions.
Expect Thunder to give her crucial overs in the Sparks’ innings at New Road.
Double header look-out
Upon conclusion of our game, the Worcestershire Rapids take on the Leicestershire Foxes in the Vitality T20 Blast. The Rapids have won two from two after wins over the Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Yorkshire Vikings.
There’s been many stand-out performers for the Rapids in those games, most notable ones from overseas bowler Usama Mir, batter Adam Hose, captain Brett D’Olivera and also Adam Finch, who batted Worcestershire to victory over Yorkshire just a few days ago.
The game is to be a double header with Worcestershire’s Men’s team, who face off in the Vitality T20 Blast against the running Leicestershire Foxes after the Sparks play host to Thunder.
Tickets for the games are now sold out. Gates are open from 9.30am, with Central Sparks v Thunder from 10.30am and Rapids v Foxes from 2.30pm.