The Charlotte Edwards Cup will now be decided on Sunday as rain stopped play in the final at New Road, Worcester with Southern Vipers in the ascendency against The Blaze.
The Blaze were reduced to 53/4 from the 9.3 overs that were played, with seamer Anya Shrubsole picking up two early wickets, including the key scalp of England international Tammy Beaumont.
However, the rain soon began to fall heavily in the Midlands despite clear skies and temperatures in the high 20’s for most of Saturday. There is a reserve day tomorrow, although the start time is yet to be confirmed.
With the sun shining and ice creams the order of the day, it seemed the stage was set perfectly for what promised to be a scintillating conclusion to the tournament.
Earlier in the day, the Vipers, who are the defending champions, had booked their place in the afternoon’s final after England batter Danni Wyatt’s half-century saw them come out on top against a spirited Thunder team.
Southern Vipers batted first in their semi-final, posting an imposing target of 192 which proved too much for Thunder, who fell 19 runs short. Potentially with this in mind, Blaze captain Kirstie Gordon elected to bat first upon winning the toss.
The Blaze boast a perfect record in this year’s Charlotte Edwards Cup, winning all seven of their group matches, including the fixture against the Vipers at Southampton in late May.
However, some impressive powerplay bowling from Shrubsole, Linsey Smith and Charlie Dean saw the East Midlands outfit limited to 34/2 from the first six overs.
This economic bowling continued after the fielding restrictions were lifted, with captain Georgia Adams and Smith dismissing the dangerous Kathryn Bryce and Georgie Boyce, respectively.
With the pressure building in both the air and for the Blaze, something had to give, and fortunately for the batting side, the heavens opened. Thunder made a second appearance of the day, with the lightning reminding Blaze fans of the Loughborough years.
Play was officially abandoned for the day at 6pm, almost an hour and a half after the players first left the field, meaning the final will extend into a second day.