Kia Super League - Southern Vipers beat Loughborough Lightning
Southern Vipers made it two wins from two in the women’s Kia Super League after narrowly prevailing over Loughborough Lightning at the Haslegrave Ground.
Needing just 24 more with six wickets in hand in the 17th over, Vipers contrived to lose four wickets in the space of 16 deliveries as Lightning mounted a determined to deny them.
But wicketkeeper Carla Rudd got them over the line by hitting off-spiner Hayley Matthews for two on the leg side to complete a two-wicket win with just three balls to spare, chasing 136.
England’s Dani Wyatt had earlier hit 40 off 33 balls with seven fours and West Indies star Stefanie Taylor 38 from 29.
Lightning, for whom skipper Georgia Elwiss top scored with 37, gave themselves a chance when England left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon removed Suzie Bates and Tammy Beaumont in her first three deliveries after coming on in the eighth over with Vipers 48 without loss.
But seven boundaries in the next three overs put Vipers back on track with 57 runs needed off the final nine overs.
Openers Hayley Matthews and Amy Jones had given the Lightning innings a solid platform after Elwiss had won the toss and opted to bat first.
With Jones in confident form after launching her KSL campaign with a half-century against Western Storm on Tuesday, and Matthews showing off her powerful hitting on the off side, the two put on 42 in the powerplay overs before they were parted in the seventh over when Matthews was bowled behind her legs by Australian leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington for 21.
Thereafter Lightning lost some momentum, Jones was bowled off a bottom edge by Paige Scholfield for 24 and five overs passed without a boundary.
Sri Lankan batter Chamari Atapattu struggled to find gaps in the field and was leg before to Taylor’s off-spin for nine and the innings did not pick up again until the final six overs, as Mignon du Preez - dropped twice - helped Elwiss put on 29 in four overs and some lusty hitting from Jenny Gunn saw the total swelled by 27 off the final 13 deliveries, Gunn pulling Taylor for six over wide long-on.
Wellington was the pick of the Vipers bowlers with one for 23 off four tidy overs.
With a run rate of 6.8, Vipers knew they had no need to force the pace and at 48 without loss after seven overs they were firmly on track.
Two wickets in her first three balls by Kirstie Gordon after drawing a blank in the opening match then dealt the Vipers a setback.
She broke the Wyatt-Suzie Bates opening partnership via a catch at deep midwicket to remove the New Zealand star and then combined brilliantly with wicketkeeper Amy Jones to have England’s always-dangerous Tammy Beaumont out stumped without scoring.
But Wyatt and West Indies all-rounder Stefanie Taylor then added 31 in four overs to keep the scoreboard moving.
Atapattu had Wyatt well caught by Sarah Glenn and deep backward square and Glenn herself trapped Taylor leg before with her leg spin.
Excellent ground fielding by Lucy Higham and Elwiss saw Thea Brookes and Scholfield run out as Vipers made things difficult for themselves towards the end before two more wickets fell in the penultimate over.
But a six by Scholfield over long-on at the start of that over had swung the balance back in Vipers’ favour and Wellington began the final over, with seven needed, by sweeping Matthews for four.
Loughborough Lightning v Southern Vipers quotes
Vipers captain Tammy Beaumont said:
“It was great to get over the line in the end. It was not our best performance in the field and I felt we let them get a bit too many at the end there.
“Danni Wyatt and Stefanie Taylor were exceptional but in the end we made it a bit closer than it should have been but that happens in this kind of cricket.
“I thought we could have coasted to an easier win at one stage but Dani Wyatt was out to an exceptional catch when had she had batted for another three or four overs it probably would have been done with.
“But that’s two wins from two away from home to take some momentum into our home games.
“I’m really pleased with the start. Winning away to Lancashire and here is never easy and the season is already looking better than the last one.”
Lightning head coach Rob Taylor:
“Obviously we are very disappointed.
“We talked about areas we could improve on after Tuesday’s game and we came out in a strong position with the bat after the powerplay and though we stalled a little but through the middle we picked up again towards the back end and the score we put on the board had us in the game.
“But with T20 when key moments happen you have to really seize them.
“We had a moment in the middle of their innings where Kirstie Gordon took two wickets in an over but then we conceded six boundaries in the next three or four overs.
“Any pressure we built with those two wickets was released again and if we let those moments slip then we won’t win many games.
“It’s two defeats from two matches but there is a long way to go in the competition. As we saw last year, with how tight the table was, a couple of wins can change things quickly.”