Game One: Stormers 89 for 2 (L Jack 33*, PA Chatterji 27) beat Eagles 88 for 8 (EL Watson 22, AM Maqsood 3 for 19) by 8 wickets
Game Two: Stormers 97 for 9 (MJ McColl 40*, I Farooq 4 for 22) beat Eagles 47 (EL Watson 25*, N Shaikh 4 for 9) by 50 runs
The Stormers lead the way in the Cricket Scotland Regional T20 Blitz after two convincing victories over current champions Eagles at Strathmore CC. The bowlers had the upper hand in often blustery conditions as Daniel Sutton’s team made a perfect start to the competition.
In Game One, a composed performance from Lorna Jack and Priyanaz Chatterji saw the Stormers win by eight wickets as the Eagles paid the price for an under-par performance with the bat. Chasing 89, the Scotland pair were always in control as their side wrapped up victory with more than three overs to spare.
At the start of the match it had been the Eagles who had come out of the blocks strongest, Ellen Watson finding the rope twice in an opening over from Abtaha Maqsood which cost ten, but the Scotland leg-spinner had her revenge in the third as Ikra Farooq was pinned in front for 5. The twenty-one-year-old international conceded just five off her second and third overs combined as Watson and new batter Katherine Fraser were kept in check by a tight line and some beautifully varied flight, and Megan McColl (1 for 23) was the beneficiary of the mounting scoreboard pressure in the sixth as Fraser (3) lofted a drive into the hands of Nayma Sheikh at mid-off, When the ever-dangerous Watson (22) was run out eight balls later after Niamh Muir’s smart pick up and throw from backward point, the Eagles, at 37 for 3, were in need of a partnership.
It was not to come. With the score on 49 Sam Haggo (7) fell to a tremendous stumping by Ailsa Lister off the bowling of Chatterji (2 for 16), and although Abbi Aitken-Drummond (12) threatened, her departure off the last ball of the fourteenth left the Eagles in trouble at 67 for 5. Hannah Rainey (15) and Emma Walsingham (8*) batted well, but a wicket for Niamh Robertson-Jack (1 for 7) and two more for Maqsood (3 for 19) kept their side well below three figures.
The muggy conditions meant that there was plenty of hope for the Eagles’ bowlers, of course, and Katherine Fraser (1 for 9) reinforced their belief with the early wicket of Ailsa Lister (2). Further joy was in short supply for the side from the east, however, as Chatterji and Jack put on 83 to ensure that it was the Stormers who would prevail.
There was a touch of déjà vu to the start of the Stormers innings in Game Two as Ailsa Lister (5) fell to Katherine Fraser for the second match in succession. The Stoneywood Dyce wicketkeeper-batter had got off the mark with a cracking drive for four, but a diving Abbi Aitken-Drummond intercepted an attempted repeat in spectacular style to ensure that her stay would again be a short one. Fraser (3 for 12) struck again in the third with the wicket of Priyanaz Chatterji (3) before Lorna Jack (19) played straight into the hands of Chloe Kiely at short fine leg, and when Aitken-Drummond rapped Abtaha Maqsood (0) on the pads with a yorker, the batting side had lost the core of its top order for only 44 runs.
Although three run-out chances went begging, the Eagles continued to make inroads, Ikra Farooq (4 for 22) bowling Niamh Muir to claim her second of the innings. Megan McColl and Abbie Hogg put on 31 for the eighth wicket, but with the innings closing on 97 for 9 it was the Eagles who finished the happier.
Katherine Fraser’s dismissal of last batter Katie Anderson (0) had been the eleventh wicket to fall to spin so far, and Abtaha Maqsood (1 for 10) quickly made it twelve by trapping Ikra Farooq (0) leg before in the first over of the reply. Priyanaz Chatterji (1 for 6) knocked back Fraser’s middle stump in the second before Sam Haggo’s leading edge off Nayma Shaikh found Niamh Robertson-Jack in the fourth as momentum swung firmly towards the Stormers, and when Megan McColl (3 for 13) held on to a sharp return catch from Abbi Aitken-Drummond (0), the Eagles resistance began to crumble. Fourteen-year-old Shaikh finished her Stormers debut with an impressive 4 for 9 as the Eagles, despite Ellen Watson carrying her bat for an unbeaten 25, subsided to 47 all out.
“We’re very pleased,” said Stormers captain Priyanaz Chatterji, “it’s good to get two wins under the belt. Obviously we’ve not had the chance to play much cricket together, if at all, so it’s great to come out on top.
“The conditions were tricky at times. The outfield was really slow – certainly for me boundaries were not coming easily – but the girls did a really good job in running the twos hard and we were able to defend [what was a low total], so that was good.”
The T20 Blitz concludes next Sunday at Hamilton Crescent.