Match Preview: Lancashire Thunder vs Yorkshire Diamonds
Date: 13 August 2019
Venue: Aigburth, Liverpool
It’s the battle between two teams who are yet to register a win in this edition of the Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL). Lancashire Thunder face Yorkshire Diamonds in Liverpool on Tuesday (August 13) in what promises to be an exciting match. Both teams have squandered at least one chance to pull off a victory in the season so far.
Diamonds had a great chance to win against Surrey Stars but threw their wickets in a chase that ideally should have been comfortable. Thunder came close against Western Storm but failed to dislodge the pair of Heather Knight and Fran Wilson which eventually made the difference between winning and losing.
Thunder, in the three matches so far, have relied more on individual brilliance to bail them out. The team has collectively failed to perform as a group. A great deal was expected from their foreign recruits – the likes of Harmanpreet Kaur, Tahlia McGrath and Sune Luus – but all three have not shown any consistency. Kaur and Luus scored a fifty each so far but didn’t get enough support from the others.
The spin quartet, too, has hardly looked threatening. Sophie Ecclestone, Emma Lamb, Alex Hartley and Sophia Dunkley have failed to provide regular breakthroughs. Kate Cross has needed to be the team’s inspiration, but she has also not had very flattering outings either.
The Diamonds, too, have plenty of problems on their plate. They were comfortably placed at 75 for 3 in a chase of 131 against the Stars, but panic struck and they lost wickets in heap at the end. In their second match against Loughborough Lightning the story was slightly different as they were blown away by Hayley Matthews.
Diamonds’ major worry going ahead is their batting, which has now let them down twice. All their batters have got starts but have failed to capitalize. The likes of Alyssa Healy, Lauren Winfield and Jemimah Rodrigues would be itching to get back to scoring runs and win matches for their team. Helen Fenby and Leight Kasperek, the spin duo, who shared seven wickets between them in the first match, were taken apart by Chamari Atapattu and their confidence would be dented post that game. It is how quickly they pick themselves up that would decide Diamonds’ progress.
The head-to-head record between the two teams stands even-stevens with Thunder most recently winning both the matches last year. Kaur was the star performer last time scoring 74 off just 44 balls. The threat of Kaur looms large over Diamonds.
Out of three games played in Liverpool by Thunder, they have lost two. Will this outing be the equaliser?
Luus didn’t have the best of starts to this season of the WCSL. After twin failures, she bounced back in style against Western Storm. She dished out special treatment to Anya Shrubsole, sending her soaring over the square leg fence. Her bottom-hand play was on show, as noted by many an expert. Anything on her pads found way past short fine leg.
An innings of such class would have gone a big way in boosting Luus’ confidence. The ‘Domestic Player of the Year’ award by Cricket South Africa meant that she had the potential and it was time for her to show it on the big stage. She did it in her last game and there is no reason why she wouldn’t like to carry on that momentum with her. A strong start from her would ease the life of the batters to follow.
After the Ashes, Healy was expected to bring her hot form to WCSL as well. She sure did, but just glimpses and not the entire thing. A 31 against Stars in the first game showed that she had it in her to rule the roost as the tournament progressed. But sadly, it was like a flame of a candle that was quickly doused.
As the tournament progresses, Diamonds would want Healy to step up and give them the starts they desire. No one better than Englishwomen like Lauren Winfield and Katherine Brunt know what it is to face the wrath of the Australian wicketkeeper’s bat.
It is an afternoon game in Liverpool but the temperature will be around 17 degree celsius. It is likely to be a stop-start game with over 50% chances of rain. However, the dimensions of the ground are smaller than the rest of the grounds, which would mean that there won’t be dearth of runs when the action takes place. Most of the games in this edition have been won by teams batting second; with rain in the picture, a run-chase would be preferred by the captain calling it right at the toss.
Kate Cross (c), Alex Hartley, Sophie Ecclestone, Sophia Dunkley, Georgia Boyce, Emma Lamb, Natalie Brown, Danielle Collins, Alice Dyson, Ria Fackrell, Ellie Threlkeld, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Sune Luus, Tahlia McGrath.
Lauren Winfield (c), Katherine Brunt, Alice Davidson-Richards, Katie George, Linsey Smith, Hollie Armitage, Georgia Davis, Helen Fenby, Cordelia Griffith, Bess Heath, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Alyssa Healy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Leigh Kasperek.