Date: 18 August 2019
Venue: Haslegrave Ground, Loughborough
Yorkshire Diamonds faced Loughborough Lightning at Headingley only last week where the latter won by a comfortable margin of nine wickets. Helped by some wayward bowling and a fifty from Hayley Matthews the victory that evening was never in doubt.
A week on, however, Diamonds look to finally have got their season back on track as they beat Lancashire Thunder by nine runs at Liverpool. The same day Loughborough Lightning lost to Western Storm by 40 runs.
The next round was always going to be how both sides responded to that. While Lightning put in an outstanding performance with bat and ball to dispatch Surrey Stars, Diamonds ran into the force of Rachel Priest and Smriti Mandhana.
A player that Diamonds have dearly missed through the course of their campaign is Katherine Brunt. The fast bowler not only gives their bowling aggression but also some control. While Katie George and Helen Fenby are promising young players they have too often given opposition batters easy pickings early on.
Where this game will be won or lost is in the overseas players on show. For Lightning, Hayley Matthews and Chamari Atapattu batted Loughborough Lightning to victory in the first game with Yorkshire Diamonds, and Mignon du Preez brought her team home against Surrey Stars. Diamonds' overseas trio, on the other hand, have flattered to deceive.
They will hope that Alyssa Healy, Jemimah Rodrigues and Leigh Kasperek finally bring their 'A-game' on Sunday. There were signs that Rodrigues has finally found some form with the bat as she put her side into a good position alongside Hollie Armitage at York. It eventually went wrong, but that was not Rodrigues fault.
Kasperek and Healy are proven performers. The latter is hitting the ball well but just needs a little bit of luck to turn a start into an innings of substance. Kasperek, on the other hand, has only started to bowl in games when the batters are set and that is a difficult situation to be in for a bowler even of her talents. Diamonds may do better to give her a sniff early on.
The allrounder has been another good find for Lightning. While she does not bowl faster than medium pace, she is difficult to get away and has proven so this year. Going at 6.21 runs an over is impressive considering she bowls mainly in the power play overs- four wickets at 21.75 is also a good return.
The Scotland captain may at some point need to show what a capable batter she is. So far she has only batted twice. Coming in to bat towards the end of the innings is difficult as you have to score from the get-go. Bryce has ten runs with a strike-rate of 142.85 to prove that is no problem for her.
With their bowling proving to be a little wayward much rests on Diamonds' top order. Winfield has proven to be their most reliable batter even if Armitage has scored more runs.
If Winfield bats for most of the innings then her side will have a decent total on the board. The right-hander has carried on her form from the T20I- leg of the Ashes series where she was England’s best batter. Since her side has been struggling to consistently put up challenging totals, Winfield may need to consider starting more aggressively to get ahead of the game early on - something she is more than capable of doing. Whether she would be happy to sacrifice some of that form for another win on the board remains to be seen.
Again, there has been a lot of rain about. On Friday (August 16) the rain wiped out the day's domestic fixtures. The outfield at Haslegrave tends to hold a lot of water and saturates quicker that the ground across the road which is at a lower level.
The pitch may, therefore, start off slow but will soon quicken up with a day of good weather forecast. The outfield should not be a problem with the ball usually quick to find the boundary.
With the boundaries straight and short it may force players to play it down the ground instead of square and that could lead to either a load of runs or a clatter of wickets.
Loughborough Lightning: Georgia Elwiss (c), Jenny Gunn, Amy Jones, Kirstie Gordon, Mignon du Preez, Hayley Matthews, Chamari Atapattu, Abbey Freeborn, Lucy Higham, Tara Norris, Alice Monaghan, Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Glenn, Georgia Adams, Jo Gardner.
Yorkshire Diamonds: 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.