Elyse Villani scored her first fifty of this season of the Super League. ©Getty Images

There was a lot made of the fact that Ellyse Perry was going to miss this year’s Super League. Regarded as one of the best players in the world there is no doubting she would have been a huge player for Lightning. Rachel Haynes answered the call instead and along with Elyse Villani and Sophie Devine they are standing up and taking the game to the opposition. Today they combined to see off a stubborn Southern Vipers side by three wickets.

It wasn’t to be Devine’s day with the bat, but with the wickets and runs in previous games, she can be excused the blip. She was dismissed for just 7 cutting Tash Farrant only for it to nestle in the gloves of Carla Rudd.

It brought Amy Jones to the crease and along with Haynes, the runs rattled off the bat. The pair added 70 runs in 39 balls before Jones picked out Danni Wyatt in the deep to give Suzie Bates her only wicket of the day.

When Haynes went in the twelfth over it was vital that Villani saw it out until the end. A target of 173 had never been chased down in Kia Super League history until today. Haynes batted superbly for her innings of 53 from 34 balls. It was her Australian teammate Villani that stole the headlines with a mature innings of 61 not out from 38 balls. She never panicked and stayed in control right until the end.

Wickets tumbled at the other end. Southern Vipers had two substitute fielder on the pitch due to injuries to Aaron Brindle and Tash Farrant. With three overs to go Loughborough Lightning needed 24 runs to win. Wyatt was introduced to the bowling attack for the first time and as well as getting the wicket of Georgia Adams her over went for 5 runs.

It was advantage Vipers. Jenny Gunn and Lucy Higham lost their wickets in the next over. Higham run out from the last ball of the over to keep Villani on strike. When Villani scored a single from the first ball of the final over there was still ten more runs needed. Sarah Glenn was called through for a tight single.

Villani made no mistake with the next two balls piercing the deep square leg and deep fine leg fielders. The next ball Bates sent down a full toss to gift Villani a six that won the game with two balls to spare. Earlier in the day, Loughborough Lightning were made to work hard in the field. The Vipers experienced batters took command of the game.

Bates again failed to make a score of note as she was caught in the deep. Tammy Beaumont in her first game back from injury was out thaught by Devine as she picked out Gleen who had moved to the exacted spot Beaumont hit it too. Wyatt had been going nicely at the other end before she was dismissed by Glenn the leg-spinner.

Sarah McGlashan and Brindle pushed the Vipers past 150 before Brindle was lbw to Georgia Elwiss for 26. McGlashan finished with 55 not out from 28 balls including two sixes from the last over.

It looked more than enough for Southern Vipers looking for their second win this year. It was not to be however and Loughborough Lightning strengthen their place at the top of the table.