Hayley Matthews looks set to return to the XI in the final ODI. ©ICC

Loughborough Lightning have announced their three overseas players for the upcoming season of Women’s Cricket Super League.

New Zealand stalwart Sophie Devine returns for her third season in purple, with debut Lightning seasons for West Indies powerhouse allrounder Hayley Matthews and arguably South Africa’s most respected batter Mignon du Preez.

Devine was the league second-highest wicket-taker just one behind fellow Lightning player Kirstie Gordon in 2018. Opening the batting, Devine was also in the top ten batting scoring 269 runs, high scoring 61* and averaging a strike rate of 146.99.

Matthews will be an exciting prospect for Lightning being an option with both bat and ball. Having played for Southern Vipers and Lancashire Thunder Matthews will know exactly what to expect this season. At just 21 years old, Matthews plays far beyond her youth opening the batting for West Indies and often being the first change bowler.

Whereas South African Mignon du Preez makes the switch to Lightning from Southern Vipers where she played in both 2017 and 2018 campaigns.

Head Coach Rob Taylor commented, “I’m extremely excited by the overseas players we have got coming to play for us this summer. All three of them come in with previous Super League experience and proven records in international cricket. I believe between them, we have got a great balance of skills and have secured 3 brilliant people which is always key for us. I know they will offer support and learning to our local players and drive our performances on the field.”

Also, Georgia Adams, Sarah Glenn and Jo Gardner will be back for Lightning’s 2019 campaign. All three were season regulars last year and will bolster this year’s squad.

Georgia Adams inspired by her father and former cricketer Chris Adams will be looking to cement her status as a top order batsman. The former Loughborough student has a strong affinity representing Lightning enjoying fond memories of her student days whilst appreciating the world-class facilities Loughborough University hosts. Adams has been a core player and is quoted as a ‘stylish, showy batsman’. In May, Adams became the youngest player to reach 100 senior caps for Sussex and will be sure to use this wealth of experience out in the middle.

Sarah Glenn was selected for the restructured England Women’s 2018/19 Academy winter training squad and will look to put this hard work into action this summer. Glenn recently made the switch from Derbyshire to Worcestershire clocking fine figures in the county championships of 4-17. Lightning’s breakthrough player, will be looking to evidence her intentions as a future senior international this year, providing an option with both bat and ball.

Warwickshire’s Jo Gardner returns for her second Lightning campaign and will provide all-round depth to the squad. Gardner starred in the first eleven that eased a 6 wicket win at The Ageas Bowl against Vipers last season.

Rob Taylor said, “Georgia, Joey and Sarah are great members of our squad. Sarah has been training on our MCCU programme this winter, so we have been able to have a lot of contact time with her. She has performed really well for us over the last 2 years and offers with both bat and ball. Joey has been in Australia so has been able to get some more game experience which will stand her in good stead for the summer and I know she will be trying to force her way into the team as an allrounder. Georgia has been training down in Sussex and her experience and qualities as a leader make her a really strong member of our squad. She knows what is required of her at the Super League level and I’m hoping she can make another impact this summer.”

(Inputs from Hannah Thompson)

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