Loughborough Lightning secured a 35-run victory over Lancashire Thunder
Loughborough Lightning secured a third successive Kia Super League win with a 35-run victory over winless Lancashire Thunder on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method at Old Trafford.
The Lightning’s victory was underpinned by a superb recovery with the bat. Having lost early wickets they scored at more than 10 an over after the powerplay to make 157 for seven - Georgia Adams the standout with 50.
After a bright start, the Thunder lost key wickets and were stifled by a strong bowling display and brilliant fielding by Loughborough, who eased to victory as the rain came.
Lancashire are now mathematically unable to qualify for Finals Day.
Tahlia McGrath set about trying to make light work of the chase of 158, and crucially getting Thunder ahead of the DLS rate, smashing two huge sixes into the stands off Kathryn Bryce in the fourth over.
But Hayley Matthews hit back in the sixth over with two wickets. First McGrath fell for 26 to a superb one-handed grab by Chamari Atapattu at mid-off before Matthews took an equally-spectacular caught and bowled effort to remove Sophia Dunkley for a duck.
Thunder were 34 for two after the powerplay. South Africa all-rounder Sune Luus batted well to guide her side to 60 for two at halfway, but two wickets fell in consecutive overs as Harmanpreet Kaur was caught in the deep for seven and Emma Lamb was bowled for a duck.
As the rain began to pour down on Old Trafford, Lightning struck two decisive blows as Kirstie Gordon took wickets in consecutive balls with Luus caught for 30 and Sophie Ecclestone for a first-ball duck.
Gordon was deprived a hat-trick delivery as the weather cut the match short with Thunder 74 for six after 13.4 overs of their innings.
Having won the toss, Thunder enjoyed an excellent powerplay. Kate Cross trapped England team-mate Amy Jones lbw for a duck in the second over, before Ecclestone struck twice to remove Matthews and Atapattu.
Loughborough were 18 for three after six overs but Mignon du Preez counter-attacked, launching Alex Hartley down the ground for six.
41 runs came in four overs after the powerplay, as Du Preez and Georgia Elwiss put on a 47-run partnership in just 31 balls.
Lamb struck to bowl Du Preez for 18 but Elwiss continued the aggression, smashing a huge six over mid-wicket.
The England star fell for 38, brilliantly caught by McGrath as Cross claimed her second wicket to make it 72 for five.
But Loughborough’s recovery was not stalled by the loss of wickets as Adams and Bryce took up the baton, reaching their 50 partnership in 29 balls.
Both were dismissed in the final over of the innings - Bryce bowled by for an 18-ball 32 and Adams run out for a superb 50 from 33 balls - but their partnership of 82 in 45 balls proved crucial.
Emma Lamb - Lancashire Thunder
Little bit disappointing, I thought we did alright with the ball to be fair. In the powerplay we restricted them to a very good score and I thought 158 was a score we could have got but I don’t think we started very well with the bat and that carried on throughout the innings.
I think a little bit in the middle of their innings we maybe lost control, we were not clear in our plans maybe. But it was still a score I reckon we could have got any other day. But it was not our day with the bat.
We were possibly a little bit unlucky with when the rain came but still execution with the bat wasn’t great and that is something to work on.
It’s a big game on Friday (against Yorkshire). We got close to them last time and hopefully playing away we can have a little bit more fight and get that first win on the board!
Georgia Adams - 50 from 33 balls for Loughborough Lightning
Great win for us, we’ve managed to gather a little bit of momentum. We didn’t get off to the start that we wanted but we want our openers to go out there and play aggressive cricket.
People coming in at five, six, seven, we have to be ready to go out there and put in performances as well.
We had similar circumstances the other day at Guildford and I was struck by something Mignon du Preez said to me. She said ‘let’s not get defensive, we have to play attacking cricket here but low risk attacking cricket’.
When you go in in those situations it is very easy to play safe. But the more I have come in at six, the more I have learnt to keep it simple, try to hit the ball hard, on the ground and in the gaps.
Momentum is massive in this competition. I think now we have that momentum we will be looking to put big screws on now to make sure we are at Finals Day.