Loughborough Lightning went into this game not quite knowing what to expect from themselves. A number of new players took to the field. They knew what to expect from Lancashire Thunder. Spin would be the order of the day as they fielded three England international spin bowlers.
While there was a fresh feel to the Loughborough Lightning team it was the same old story for Lancashire Thunder. They lost all their games last season, and this carried on that poor run of form.
Lancashire were without their star overseas player Harmanpreet Kaur who was missing due to a delayed visa.
Georgia Elwiss admitted after the game that “winning the toss was a good thing.” Loughborough Lightning started brightly, and it was down to two of their experienced internationals that made the early breakthroughs. Sophie Devine took the wickets of debutants Nicole Bolton and Georgie Boyce without either of them scoring in the first over.
Jenny Gunn who was making her Loughborough Lightning debut dismissed Amy Satterthwaite and Emma Lamb with her first two balls.
It was then left to the trio of Lucy Higham, Kirstie Gordon and Linsey Smith. All good friends off the field (a theme with the Lightning squad).
Gordon said after the game that despite her nerves that is helped to have players that she “has played a lot of cricket together, it obviously helps when your buddy at the other end is bowling really well.”
On a pitch that was turning from the start as the trio turned the screw on the lower order of the Thunder side.
At 45 for 8 it looked as if Lancashire Thunder were on course for their lowest score in the Kia Super League.
A partnership of 26 for the ninth wicket between Kate Cross and Natalie Brown helped Lancashire reach 72 all out.
While it was a spinners pitch the seam of Devine and Gunn took six wickets between them going for 15 and 10 respectively for their three wickets apiece.
On a pitch that suited the Lancashire Thunder bowlers, they were 50 runs short of giving Loughborough Lightning a tough run chase.
There was no need for Loughborough Lightning to go out all guns blazing as they needed just over three and a half an over. They also knew the threat that the Lancashire Thunder’s bowlers possessed.
Kate Cross steamed in and made the breakthrough in the third over as she bowled Sarah Glenn the hard-hitting allrounder for a duck.
Sophie Devine went next over the ball after hitting a six. When Amy Jones was stumped for 4 off the bowling of Alex Hartley for 4 Loughborough Lightning were 19 for 3.
Hartley’s four overs only cost 12 runs as she took 2 wickets. When Elyse Villani was lbw to Hartley it brought Georgia Adams to the wicket. While she started to free her arms Georgia Elwiss was playing a game of not getting out.
The two best friends were intent on ensuring they saw their side home. They still had Rachael Haynes yet to bat which allowed them to play their natural game.
This result will hurt Lancashire Thunder massively as they have the basis of a good side. There is no doubt that Kaur will make a difference to this side.
It was, however, a day for the friends of Loughborough Lightning that got their campaign off to the perfect start.