Loughborough Lightning go top of KIA Super League
Loughborough Lightning moved to the top of the KIA Super League on the back of a dominant display as Surrey Stars were crushed by nine wickets with 10 overs to spare at the Haslegrave Ground.
Outstanding bowling from Jenny Gunn, 3 for 19, and Kirstie Gordon with 3 for 13 skittled the Stars for 95 in 18 overs with only 45 from 35 balls from skipper Nat Sciver offering any prolonged resistance.
New Zealand all-rounder Sophie Devine then wrapped up a bonus point victory with an explosive unbeaten 61, which included five sixes, from 32 balls as Lightning surged home by the halfway stage of their innings.
Sciver had made an unbeaten 95 in the previous game and she again had to carry her side after the top order disintegrated against accurate bowling led by Gunn.
Bryony Smith was struck on the helmet by the third ball of the innings from Devine and that was a sign of the problems to come for the Stars who were four down inside the powerplay.
Lizelle Lee dragged Linsey Smith to mid on and Smith went in the next over when she failed to get over a drive at Devine which reduced the Stars to 5 for 2.
Sciver drove Devine square for the first four of the innings in the fifth over and edged Gunn for another but she was playing a lone hand as wickets tumbled at the other end.
Sarah Taylor was deceived by a slower ball from Gunn and stumped and the next delivery moved late to bowl Dane van Niekerk.
Sophia Dunkley was lbw to Gunn and although Sciver struck the ball confidently through the offside, the innings fell away when she cut Gordon to cover.
Only Marizanne Kapp with 23 from 20 balls ensured a measure of respectability as the last four wickets tumbled for six runs in four overs to leave the Lightning chasing a modest target.
To have any chance, Stars had to take early wickets and after Rachel Haynes launched Kapp down the ground, the South African trapped her lbw when she played back in the third over.
Devine was determined not to allow the visitors to build pressure and she drove Sciver through thecovers for four before smashing the last ball of the over straight past her for another boundary.
When Amy Jones pulled and drove Mady Villiers for boundaries in the fifth over, Lightning were cruising and Devine moved into overdrive by pulling Dunkley’s leg spin for four consecutive sixes to settle what had become a one-sided contest.
Devine cleared the ropes again before Amy Jones with an unbeaten 24 sealed a victory that puts Lightning on course for the finals but leaves Stars struggling after a third defeat.