Kent Scalp Ireland & Berkshire in T20 Triple-Header

Kent emerged on top with wins over both Ireland and Berkshire yesterday at Finchampstead CC, in the opening round of this season’s Women’s Twenty20 Cup.

Kent‘s first victory, against Ireland, was a convincing one, as half-centuries from Charlotte Edwards (53) and Tammy Beaumont (61) provided the platform for a 46-run win.

They followed this up with a 4-run victory against Berkshire.

Speaking to CRICKETher after the three matches were complete, Kent captain Charlotte Edwards admitted that the day – which saw Kent play back-to-back T20 games, the last of which went on until gone 7.30pm – had been tiring, but said that she felt the format was a good one.

“It’s been pretty tough, but this level of cricket should be tough. We’re really pleased with how we’ve played today against a good Ireland team and Berkshire team.”

Berkshire v Ireland

Berkshire beat Ireland with 10 balls to spare, thanks to an unbeaten partnership of 89 between their international superstars Heather Knight (54*) and Alex Blackwell (42*).

Ireland, batting first having won the toss on a cold, drizzly morning in Berkshire, looked to play positively from the get-go; but lost crucial wickets early – Issy Joyce in the first over, edging Immy Brown to Heather Knight at slip; Clare Shillington in the second, bowled by Knight.

Cecilia Joyce then took Brown for 15 off the third, including 3 consecutive 4s, to take the visitors to 27/2 after 3 overs; but generally boundaries looked hard to find on a slow, damp outfield. Nevertheless, Ireland continued to play pugnacious Twenty20 cricket, and ultimately progressed to 104/5 from their overs, Laura Delany top-scoring with 32*.

Berkshire’s reply started slowly, as they lost opener Alex Rogers to a 7-ball duck and Lissy McLeod for 2; but this brought Blackwell and Knight together and although they eschewed the big shots that the Irish had been looking to play, they nonetheless did the job they needed to do, seeing things through in the 18th over, without ever looking in any trouble.

Kent v Ireland

Half centuries from Charlotte Edwards (53) and Tammy Beaumont (61) in a century opening stand provided the platform for Kent to convincingly beat Ireland.

For the first 10 overs, Edwards and Beaumont dealt largely in scampering singles, harrying the field at every ball. Beaumont in particular played very straight and looked solid and in command with her punchy drives. Then Kent began to open up – a more expansive approach which led to Edwards being dropped 3 times in the space of 7 balls in the 11th and 12th overs.

Reaching their 50s in the same over, both perished soon after – Edwards run out and Beaumont bowled attempting an uncharacteristic slog off O’Reilly. But the damage had been done by then, and Kent’s final total of 144 was always going to be a mountain for the Irish.

And so it proved. Although the Irish maintained a respectable run rate of around 5 throughout their innings, with good contributions from Laura Delany (25*) and Issy Joyce (22), they fell well short in the end, finishing on 98/5.

Berkshire v Kent

In the day’s final game, Berkshire narrowly failed to beat Kent, with the action going down to the wire as Berkshire were left needing 4 runs off the final ball. But Laura Marsh held her nerve and bowled Daisy Gardner, who was attempting to slog the required boundary.

With Kent having won the toss and elected to bat, it was again Edwards (39) and Beaumont (22) who laid down the platform in an opening stand of 44. Eventually Beaumont was out to Gardener, playing across herself for the second time in the day… and getting bowled for the second time in the day!

Edwards was then joined by Lydia Greenway, and the pair took the score to 65/1 after 10 overs. Berkshire, though, did well to pull back the run-rate in the second half of Kent’s innings, as they finished on 117/4.

As Ireland had earlier in the day, Berkshire maintained a fairly consistent rate of 5-an-over in the first two-thirds of their innings, thanks to Knight (27), Lissy Macleod (24) and Alex Blackwell (20). But with none of the top batsmen able to quite push-on far enough, it was left Berkshire’s late-order to get them back into it, smashing and crashing the ball around in the latening gloom to take them close – though not quite close enough.