It rained. Twice. First the showers from the skies and then the boundaries off Lizelle Lee and Natalie Sciver’s bats. The first rain delayed the start of play by 150 minutes while the second held back the inevitable for Lancashire Thunder. The cloud burst meant that the contest was reduced to nine overs per side.
And just like that, Thunder were steamrolled by Surrey Stars, who won their final match of Women’s Cricket Super League (WCSL) by 35 runs on Wednesday (August 28) at Stanley Park in Blackpool. Thunder ended their campaign without a single win against their name.
It was the Lee-Sciver show for Stars after being inserted in. Thunder’s most economical bowler this season (among those who have bowled at least 10 overs), Sophie Ecclestone, was carted for 11 in the first over of the match. Who knew that it was sign of things to come!?
Earmarked as the key player, Stars’ South African import finally came good in the competition, after enduring a string of low scores and false starts. Her 17-ball fifty was the fastest fifty in the history of the WCSL. Quite amazingly it included 11 fours and one six!
At the other end, skipper Sciver, promoting herself to open, was taking her time to get a measure of things. She was, however, doing just well to hand over the strike quickly to Lee to do the damage. At one point, she just had a solitary run to her name, while her partner had galloped close to a half century. When the pair brought its hundred-run partnership things had slightly evened out – Sciver’s contribution was 38 off 22, while Lee’s was 57 off 21.
The duo was finally separated with the score at 127 – it was Stars’ best partnership in the competition. Kate Cross disturbed Lee’s woodwork to end her knock for 75 off just 28 balls. It had 13 fours and three sixes.
Two balls later – the final one of the innings – Sciver hit a four to bring up her second fifty of this season. She had taken just 26 balls for her fifty, which was her personal quickest.
A measure of how bad a day Thunder had on the field can be highlighted from the fact that Ecclestone went for 25 in her two overs. And that three of the four bowlers who bowled two overs had an economy rate over 10 – Cross’ rate being 21 per over!
Certainly not a field day for Thunder. Perhaps the rain before the match had a role to play in them not exhibiting much control with the ball.
In reply, chasing 133 for a highly unlikely win, Thunder’s opening pair of Tahlia McGrath and Evelyn Jones began a bit cautiously, before McGrath opened up. At that point it seemed as if the home side would make a game of it. She had raced to 36 off just 16 balls by the end of the fourth over, with Thunder 45 for no loss.
That’s when Bryony Smith was brought into the attack and she struck off her second ball after being hit for a four off the first. McGrath had to depart having belted 41 off just 18 balls, with seven fours and a six – it likely marked the end of Thunder’s fight.
In the same over, her opening partner Jones too fell for a 12-ball 13. What then followed was mere capitulation, another one as far as Thunder were concerned. Apart from the openers, only wicketkeeper-batter Eleanor Threlkeld entered double figures.
For Stars, Hannah Jones picked up three in her second over, finishing with 3-24 in her two overs. In stark contrast to the Thunder bowlers, only two Stars bowlers had economy rates over 10 an over.
Truly it had rained – a string of losses for Lancashire Thunder to draw curtains to their WCSL stint.
Brief Scores: Surrey Stars 132/1 in 9 overs (Lizelle Lee 75, Natalie Sciver 50*) beat Lancashire Thunder 97/7 in 9 overs (Tahlia McGrath 41; Hannah Jones 3/24) by 35 runs.