A battle between two teams with 2 wins & a loss each. Someone's climbing up the ladder to gain a crucial advantage to finish in the top 3!
While the South East Stars would be considered as the stronger team, they have the key players in Bryony Smith, Alice Capsey, & Aylish Cranstone missing for this game. On the other hand, Western Storm are at a full strength with Lauren Filer & Dani Gibson having rejoined the team after their games against New Zealand.
South East Stars still have a strong team, but the absence of the aforementioned players makes their top-order brittle. However, Western Storm's opening pair is equally brittle, but have a strong #3 player in Sophie Luff and ideal finishers in Katie George & Gibson.
The battle between Western Storm's openers vs. Alexa Stonehouse & Eva Gray + South East Stars' top-order vs. Lauren Filer & Dani Gibson will be the ones to watch out for with the pacers having an upper hand of making early incisions.
Western Storm: Georgia Hennessy/Alex Griffiths, Natasha Wraith (wk), Sophia Luff (C), Fran Wilson, Fi Morris, Danielle Gibson, Katie George, Georgia Hennessy/Niamh Holland, Sophia Smale, Lauren Filer, Claire Nicholas
Possible change: Georgia Hennessy for Alex Griffiths/Niamh Holland
South East Stars: Chloe Brewer, Kirstie White, Kira Chathli (wk), Phoebe Franklin, Alice Davidson-Richards (C), Rhianna Southby, Lauren Smith, Alexa Stonehouse, Eva Gray, Bethan Miles, Danielle Gregory
Known change: Alice Davidson-Richards for Aylish Cranstone
VENUE: College Ground, Cheltenham
There was a County Championship game at the same venue between Gloucestershire and Hampshire that came to an end today. The pitch next to that game is most likely to be put to use and it should be a fresh one with a generous covering of grass. Expect the likes of Lauren Filer, Dani Gibson, Alexa Stonehouse, Eva Gray, and other swing bowlers to enjoy bowling here.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Lauren Filer: Filer will be the most important player to watch out for in this game. Fresh from matches against New Zealand, her new ball spell is what one should keep an eye on.
Alice Davidson-Richards: Fresh from the South Africa series, Richards will be leading the side in the absence of Bryony Smith & Aylish Cranstone. A proper impact player in the middle-overs with the bat and ball.
Bethan Miles: Didn't take too long to become one of my few favorite SLAOs after I watched her bowl for the Academy. A quick SLAO who mainly targets the stumps & adjusts her lengths really well.
Dani Gibson: A rare player with the ability to walk in and clear the boundary right away. Dani Gibson is unique & her ability as a batter goes unrealized. She will most likely share the new ball with Filer and also bowl at the death.
Katie George: Katie George was the star in the last game for the Western Storm with her heroics with the bat. The venue will be ideal for her to make an impact with her left-arm pace as well.
Alexa Stonehouse: Alexa Stonehouse & new ball wickets go hand-in-hand. The fresh Cheltenham pitch + the Western Storm opening pair that is short on confidence could see Stonehouse make early inroads. She will also have a say with the bat lower down the order after being a prolific performer as an opener for the Academy.