Saturday, July 13, 2024

Louis Kimber, The Blaze and Hundred wildcards: Here’s what you missed during the T20 World Cup

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While England made it to the semi-final of the T20 World Cup before being well beaten by eventual winners India, the domestic season has continued to serve up some brilliant cricket

Over the last month, the men’s T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies has gripped the cricket world’s attention. 

While England made it to the semi-final before being well beaten by eventual winners India, the domestic season has continued to serve up some brilliant cricket. 

Here’s what you may have missed…

The Blaze win the Charlotte Edwards Cup 

The Blaze bounced back from losing both domestic finals last season to beat the South East Stars in the final of the Charlotte Edwards Cup. 

After beating the Central Sparks in the first semi-final on Finals Day by five wickets, they restricted the Stars to 141 for 9 in the final.

Three wickets apiece for Heather Graham (3 for 16) and Josie Groves (3 for 33) helped stall the innings before the Bryce sisters, Kathryn (62) and Sarah (52 not out), both struck match-winning fifties. 

It was a first title for The Blaze, who used to be the Loughborough Lightening. They only lost one game during the whole T20 competition. 

Attention now turns back to the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy, with the Southern Vipers and Sunrisers equal on 23 points at the top of the table. 

Related: Journey complete for Kirstie Gordon and The Blaze

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The Blaze celebrate their first title (Malcolm Couzens/Stringer via Getty Images)

Louis Kimber smashes record-breaking double-century

Leicestershire’s Louis Kimber scored a remarkable 243 against Sussex last week in the County Championship. 

He almost snatched an unlikely victory for his side, who were trailing by 319 runs in the second innings when he arrived at the crease.

Kimber took 43 off an over England’s Ollie Robinson which was the most ever scored from an over in the County Championship. 

He hit 21 sixes in his 127-ball innings which was the most in a county championship innings ever. 

He told The Cricketer days after his innings: “You always feel like you’re capable of doing something like this one day.”

Related: Louis Kimber’s day out: “You always feel like you’re capable of doing something like this one day”

The innings was unfortunately in vain as he was bowled by Nathan McAndrew, which left the Foxes 18 runs short of their target. 

Surrey and the Birmingham Bears top the Blast Groups

The Bears have 12 points at the top of the North group while Surrey top the South group with 13 points. 

The Blast returns on Friday after this brief County Championship break, with the last set of group matches ending on July 19. 

The competition’s leading run scorer Rishi Patel struck 104 off just 45 balls as Leicestershire Foxes tied with the Northamptonshire Steelbacks which was a particular highlight of last week’s action. 

This was not the only tie in the Blast this season as Gloustershire’s David Payne defended six off the final over, including taking three wickets, against Surrey at the Kia Oval. 

Related: David Payne reaches for the past to nail the present

Patel is 52 runs ahead of the nearest competition but the leading wicket-taker is more hotly contested with Josh Taylor (16) one ahead of Somerset’s Ben Green and Sean Abbott, who will not be able to add to his tally as his spell at Surrey has ended. 

Hundred Wildcards announced ahead of new season 

The Hundred returns later this month and last week, the teams announced their wildcard picks ahead of the new season. Each team were entitled to add two players each to their men’s and women’s squads. 

In the women’s competition, London Spirit selected Abbey Freeborn, who was Central Spark’s leading run scorer in the Charlotte Edwards Cup. While Manchester Originals hope Danielle Gregory can keep up her perfect Hundred record as she aims to win the competition for the fourth consecutive season. 

Related: Abigail Freeborn believes “clear game plan” can help the Central Sparks win the Charlotte Edwards Cup

Ravi Bopara returns to the London Spirit men’s team while Oval Invincibles welcome Scotland left-arm spinner Mark Watt. 

Sussex’s Ollie Robinson was left out of the England Test squad this week but has earned a place on the Trent Rockets squad. England newcomer Dillon Pennington will represent Freddie Flintoff’s Northern Superchargers if England duty allows. 

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Jamie Smith celebrates another century this season on the day of his maiden Test selection (Getty Images)

England Test stars impress in County Championship  

The England Test squad was announced at the start of this week with Jamie Smith getting the wicketkeeper nod and Shoaib Bashir promoted to England’s sole spinner. 

Smith celebrated his selection by smashing a century on day one of Surrey’s Championship match against Essex, hours after the squad was announced. Smith has been a stand-out player for his county this season, including 235 runs in the T20 Blast. 

Related: Rob Key explains selection decisions as England look to the future

For Bashir, he has suffered a tough start to the campaign despite taking 17 wickets in India during England’s winter tour. He has struggled for game time and was most recently loaned to Worcestershire, where he came face-to-face with a rampant Dan Lawrence. 

Lawrence, who was selected as England’s spare batter, equalled the then record of 38 (Kimber broke it just two days later) for most runs in a County Championship over off the bowling of Bashir on his way to 175. 

All eyes have been on Southport this week as James Anderson made his first Lancashire appearance of the season ahead of his final Test at Lord’s. 

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