Marie Kelly Shines in The Blaze’s Dominant Victory in Charlotte Edwards Cup 2024

Marie Kelly’s brilliant 89 not out helped The Blaze win by five wickets, proving her batting ability and laying a solid basis for the next Finals Day.

Blaze topped the final table after winning nine out of ten games, while Sparks lost and fell to fourth place after Southern Vipers overcame South-East Stars at Hove to earn bonus points.

Marie Kelly Shines in The Blaze’s Dominant Victory in Charlotte Edwards Cup 2024
Marie Kelly sealed the win with an unbeaten incredible 89 runs. Getty Images

Central Sparks 138 for 8 (Freeborn 39, Perrin 37, Jones 36) lost to The Blaze 139 for 5 (Kelly 89*) by five wickets.

An outstanding Blaze offense spearheaded by Kirstie Gordon (4-0-14-2) and Grace Ballinger (4-1-16-1) held Sparks to 138 for eight. Abi Freeborn (39, 32 balls), Davina Perrin (37, 33), and Amy Jones (36, 26) were the top three scorers; after that, the rest fell apart as Josie Groves and Heather Graham each claimed two wickets.

Marie Kelly then swept Blaze to victory on the field where she first learnt how to play cricket. The elegant 89/63/43 from Kelly supported her team’s run to 139 for five from 19.2 overs as the Sparks bowling attack, which three days earlier had knocked the Vipers out for 98, found things considerably more difficult. Blaze is the team that has the momentum going into Derby.

As Ballinger opened with a maiden, Sparks elected to bat but got off to a poor start. With just 25 runs coming from the first six overs, Gordon let up just a single in her opening over.

The 50 stand was raised from 51 balls when Perrin started to get into some strokes and smacked Graham over long off for six. After adding five more fours to her six, the 17-year-old went down the pitch to find Groves, but at mid off, she instead found Ella Claridge.

Also Read: Western Storm Secures Victory Over Sunrisers in Charlotte Edwards Cup Clash 2024

Freeborn swept Sarah Glenn with a top edge, resulting in a short, fine leg. As Amy Jones settled down, she observed several other partners making hasty escapes. While Courtney Webb and Eve Jones hit complete tosses to fielders, Katie George was able to pull off a long Graham delivery to mid off.

At least Jones kept the innings going, but she was dismissed in the penultimate over after charging at the great Gordon, who two balls later smashed Em Arlott’s leg stump. On the final ball of the innings, Graham removed Charis Pavely’s middle stump, taking seven wickets for 49 runs in forty-three balls.

After Sparks’ innings got off to a maiden, Blaze’s got off to an even more tentative start when Teresa Graves chipped Em Arlitt to mid off with a wicket maiden. In response, Kelly and Kathryn Bryce (27, 32) made a measured stand that reached 50 in 47 balls. Kelly had scored 48 runs in seven innings throughout her lackluster tournament play, but she more than doubled that total in one go when she hit her half-century in 37 balls.

Before Kathryn Bryce was bowled out by Freeborn off Potts on her second attempt, the two had put up 106 in 86 balls. A commotion ensued as Sarah Bryce defeated Georgia Davis, Pavely intercepted Graham’s off-stump, and Claridge scored a point by slicing Hannah Baker, but Kelly managed to see her side home at her spiritual home.

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