Nat Sciver had an all round performance. ©Getty Images

Cricket match? What’s that? It was a battle of the batting collapses on show at Headingley in Leeds on Tuesday (August 6), as Yorkshire Diamonds’ fall proved costlier than Surrey Stars’ in the third and final game on the opening day of the Women’s Cricket Super League.

For starters, the defending champions lost their way towards the end of the innings, losing six wickets for the just 30 runs in the final six overs. Second, Diamonds lost their last five wickets for just 24 runs – including losing the last four in nine balls. In the end, Surrey emerged victorious by a mere nine runs.

Chasing 131, the Diamonds had got off to a wonderful start courtesy Alyssa Healy. The Australian carried her good form from the Ashes series, as she first creamed Marizanne Kapp for three consecutive boundaries, before meting out the same treatment to Dane van Niekerk, her fellow South African. However, in a repeat of the final Ashes T20I, off spinner Mady Villiers applied brakes on the run-chase by dismissing the Australian wicketkeeper for a 17-ball 31.

Following Healy’s dismissal in the fifth over, Yorkshire failed to capitalise on the momentum. Their run-rate slowed down and they lost two more wickets. Between the tenth over to the 16th over, the hosts lost six wickets for just 25 runs. Newcomer Jemimah Rodrigues (4), who was playing her first game in England, failed to get going, while Cordelia Griffith (5), too couldn’t stand up to Natalie Sciver. These collapses meant that the start – where Yorkshire amassed 45 runs in the powerplay – was turning to be futile. That only four batters from the home side got to double digits is a sorry tale to tell.

Aside from Lauren Winfield, who collected a stoic 31, none of Yorkshire’s batters were able to challenge Surrey’s bowlers. Yorkshire Diamonds largely struggled through their innings, but managed to post a total of 121 in 19.5 overs. Laura Marsh was the pick of Surrey’s bowlers with figures of 3 for 17, while Sciver also picked up a couple of wickets.

Earlier, choosing to bat, Stars lost Lizelle Lee pretty early in the piece, as she was trapped in front of the stumps by Helen Fenby. Bryony Smith followed her opening partner soon, to leave the current champions reeling at 31 for 2 well inside the power play.

Sarah Taylor and captain Sciver then set about rebuilding the Surrey innings. It was a phase where strike rotation was more, with the odd boundary – their stand had reached 48 and was looking good for more.

Taylor displayed her wide range of strokes, particularly on the on side, and looked set for what would have been her third WCSL fifty. She combined deft touch and smart placement with her powerful wrists picking the gaps on the off-side as well.

It was then that Leigh Kasperek decided to get into the act. After being smacked for a maximum by Sciver, the Kiwi spinner extracted revenge as she dismissed the Stars’ captain for 24. What’s more, in her next over, she showed Taylor (43) the way to the dugout, to prove the adage of one bringing two, true.

It was then up to the experienced South African duo of Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp to bring the innings back on track. However, Kasperek picked up her third by sending the Proteas’ captain back for 16 and things were never same for the away side.

With the lower middle order unable to make much of an impact, Fenby then returned in the final over and added a couple more wickets to her kitty. She finished with figures of 4 for 20, while Kasperek managed three-for. Just like that, Stars had lost their way from a pretty good position, posting only 130 for 9 in 20 overs.

 

Brief scores: Surrey Stars 130/9 in 20 overs (Sarah Taylor 43, Natalie Sciver 24; Helen Fenby 4-20, Leigh Kasperek 3-25) beat Yorkshire Diamonds 121 in 19.5 overs (Alyssa Healy 31, Lauren Winfield 31; Laura Marsh 3-17, N Sciver 2-25) by nine runs.