Outside of Loughborough, there wasn’t much talk about Lightning being a contender for this years Kia Super League. When they lost to Western Storm at the weekend it felt like the natural order of things had been restored.
The performance against Surrey Stars by Loughborough Lightning on their home ground showed the real deal. They crushed Surrey Stars by 9 wickets to consolidate their position towards the top of the table.
Surrey Stars one of the preseason favourites have now only won one match so far this season. They join Yorkshire Diamonds and other favourites Southern Vipers at the bottom end of the table.
With the depth of the Stars batting, they won the toss and backed themselves to set a target. What they hadn’t factored in was the experience of the opening bowlers of Sophie Devine and Jenny Gunn. On a pitch that wasn’t quick enough maybe to chance your arm, Surrey Stars lost wickets far too often to set Loughborough Lightning a score.
Lizelle Lee was the first wicket to fall on five Trying to clear mid-on from the final ball of the second over to Linsey Smith who bowled with control before finishing with figures of 2 for 15.
Bryony Smith had been hit with a bouncer by Sophie Devine didn’t last much longer than Lee. Into her second over Devine struck with the next ball over after the dismissal of Lee.
It meant that the England duo of Natalie Sciver and Sarah Taylor had a rebuilding job on their hands and they were doing just that before Jenny Gunn took two wickets in two balls in the sixth over. The first was Taylor who was stumped by Amy Jones.
The next ball Dane van Niekerk was bowled and Surrey Stars were in trouble on 31 for 4. They never did as Kirstie Gordon grabbed three wickets of her own. Sciver was looking dangerous on 45 before she picked out Devine. Sciver was one of only two Stars players to reach double figures as they were bowled out for 95 after 18 overs.
It was never enough and Devine cashed in with the bat to score 61 from just 32 balls. It included three sixes from three Sophia Dunkley balls, two of which disappeared out of the ground.
Loughborough Lightning reached their target from just 59 balls. They now have an important game on Saturday against Southern Vipers. A win there will see them closer to finals day. As for Surrey Stars, they will be hoping they can turn things around quickly as their hopes of a second successive finals day look to be slipping away, and when you look at the players in their side that would be a shame for the fans.