Kent Women’s thrilling start to the 2021 county season continues as The Horses defeated Middlesex twice in one day in the Vitality Women’s T20 at The County Ground, Beckenham.
On a colder, overcast and blustery day at Beckenham, Kent Women welcomed Middlesex after already claiming two wins over Surrey in their opening matchday of this year’s county T20 competition.
Match One: Kent Women (150/3) def. Middlesex Women (130/7) by 20 runs
Returning to play for Kent after featuring for South East Stars against an England Women Academy side this weekend, stand-in skipper Tash Farrant won the Toss at The County Ground and chose to bat in the first of two T20 matches.
The dangerous duo of Sarah Bryce and Grace Scrivens, both fresh from recording good scores in both T20 and 50-over competition for Kent this season, opened the batting for The Horses.
This time, however, Kent lost Scrivens early, caught by Coppack from the bowling of Gole. The wicket left Kent on 17/1 after four overs, and Grace Gibbs came in ‘at three’ for the hosts.
Gibbs, who had celebrated a birthday on Saturday, spent no time in getting ‘in’ once in the middle. The right-hander smashed two fours from her first five deliveries faced, and continued to find the boundary rope twice in each of the next two overs.
The pair of Gibbs and Bryce raced to a 50 partnership in the 10th from 34 deliveries, and at the halfway point, Kent were 71/1.
The partnership reached 75 runs from 52 deliveries three overs later, and in the 15th, Gibbs reached a new personal milestone – her first recorded half century for Kent Women in all formats, in her 65th appearance for The Horses.
Kent Women’s 46th Capped Player then celebrated her batting partner Bryce reaching a half century for the first time this season in Kent colours, the Scotland ‘keeper-batter’s 50 coming from 40 balls in the 16th over.
The duo’s 100 partnership was bought up in the 17th, until Gibbs was finally dismissed at the end of the over for 60, and her replacement Farrant also fell in the subsequent over for 7. Kent Women reached 150/3 at the end of the innings.
Middlesex’s chase got off to a steady start with boundaries in each of the first four overs, before the off-spin of Kalea Moore made the breakthrough for Kent. Dattani was bowled for 21, and Middlesex were 39/1 after 7 overs.
Further dents were made in Middlesex’s innings just before the halfway point – Kent Women’s 2020 Bowler of the Year Megan Belt struck twice in the same over. After sending Carr back to the pavilion for 8, she bowled her replacement Miles without scoring after two balls, and Middlesex limped to 56/3 after ten.
Cordelia Griffith and Gayatri Gole’s commendable rebuilding effort saw Griffith reach a half century at the beginning of the 16th over, but a Belt/Bryce combination saw her run out for 60 – exactly the wicket that Kent needed.
Gole was then bowled by Phoebe Franklin, and in the final over, Grace Scrivens got two wickets in two balls, and was on a hat trick with the final ball of the match – defended by Coppack for no run. Middlesex made 130/7 from their 20 overs, and Kent picked up the win by 20 runs.
After the match, Grace Gibbs said: “I think we dominated the whole game with both bat and ball. We had a good powerplay to start with and then obviously a good partnership between myself and ‘Brycey’ [Sarah Bryce].
“We both thought that if the ball was there to hit, we would, and with the lovely outfield here, anything you did get hold of ran away.
“I felt good out there – the first couple I hit came out of the middle of the bat and from then I thought I was going to have a good game. Brycey and I ran well and communicated well which gave us a good target to bowl at.”
Match Two: Kent Women (135/3 in 19.4 overs) def. Middlesex Women (131 all out) by seven wickets
Ahead of the second game of the day, Kent rotated their squad and saw England spinner Kirstie Gordon and Horses Hero Alice Davidson-Richards come into the side – the latter taking up captaining duties from Tash Farrant.
This time, ‘ADR’ won the Toss and chose to field on a used surface.
Something that seems inevitable this season then happened. After an opening over from Alexa Stonehouse, Kirstie Gordon struck with her second ball of the match – trapping Dattani LBW for 2.
To Middlesex, it then looked like attack seemed the best form of defence, as the second wicket partnership of Griffith and Carr raced to 50 runs inside the powerplay and from only 27 balls, including four fours in the sixth over.
Griffith was dismissed by a trademark Sarah Bryce stumping after being outfoxed by a delivery from Megan Belt, and had to depart for a well-made 37 in the eighth over.
Megan Belt then used her experience to run out Miles – after Carr bumped a delivery straight back to the off-spinner despite calling for a quick single, Belt underarmed the ball straight to the strikers end for the run out.
Belt took another wicket in her next over, this time getting Carr out LBW for 35.
Two wickets fell in Phoebe Franklin’s second over – Porter was out for 4 with Kalea Moore taking the catch, before Munday was run-out without scoring by Ryana MacDonald-Gay.
After 17 overs and going into ‘the death’, Middlesex were in a reasonable position at 125/6, and were looking to accelated in the final three overs. This did not happen.
Kirstie Gordon, back on to bowl, took three wickets for just one run in the 18th over. She bowled Patel (8) first ball and dismissed both Coppack (caught Megan Belt) and Wolfe (caught Grace Scrivens) without scoring, and finished her four overs bowled with figures of 4/17.
Kalea Moore rounded off Middlesex’s innings after Gajipra edged behind to Sarah Bryce for 4, and the visitors were 131 all out after 19.3 overs.
Kent lost Grace Scrivens early once more for one run in the second over, and in came Phoebe Franklin at three this time to join opener Sarah Bryce.
Mystifyingly mirroring the first match, Kent’s second wicket partnership took the match by the scruff of its proverbial neck. Bryce and Franklin put 50 runs on the board together in the eighth over to take Kent up to 52/1, and the pair accelerated from there.
Franklin, playing in her 76th recorded match for Kent Women, batted confidently alongside her teammate, and the pair took Kent up to 71/1 at the halfway stage.
in the 13th over, Franklin reached her first half century for Kent after facing 37 deliveries before finally being dismissed by Patel for 51 to make the score 97/2.
Davidson-Richards was dismissed cheaply two overs later, leaving Kent needing 22 to win from the final four overs.
Bryce reached her second consecutive half century of the day to start the death over chase, and alongside Kalea Moore, took Kent to victory. A four from the fourth ball of the final over saw Kent win by seven wickets.
After the match, Phoebe Franklin, said: “To be honest it’s been a long time coming for me to get some runs! But I just took my time, especially with the wind in that second game, but once you were ‘in’, it made things much easier.
“We’ve got good momentum now with four wins from four in the T20, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”
Sarah Bryce was directly involved in every over of both matches at The County Ground, Beckenham, with two not out innings of 63 and 59 respectively, as well as keeping wicket.
Next up for The Horses is a T20 double-header at The Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford against Essex Women on Sunday 9th May.
As it stands, Kent are top of their group in the Vitality Women’s County T20, with four wins from four.