Rodrigues holds her nerve to help Yorkshire Diamonds clinch a thriller

Rodrigues' brilliance confirms Supernovas' place in final

Jemimah Rodrigues in action. ©BCCI/IPL

Yorkshire Diamonds stunned Surrey Stars, pulling off a five-wicket win at Woodbridge Road in Guilford on Tuesday (August 20). Jemimah Rodrigues held her nerve to help Diamonds overhaul their target of 122, striking a boundary off the penultimate delivery, to finish unbeaten on 42.

The 18-year-old backed up her maiden Women’s Cricket Super League half-century in the previous game, with a match-winning knock on Tuesday. She held together a Diamonds chase that looked to be self-destructing in the final stages.

Needing 27 runs off the final four over with seven wickets in hand, Rodrigues collected 12 runs off Dane van Niekerk’s final over to put her team firmly in the front seat. A seven run over off Laura Marsh followed, and the visitors appeared to have sealed the deal, but Stars it seems had other ideas.

Defending eight runs in 12 balls, Sciver conceded only four runs off the 19th over, before Laura Marsh triggered a mini-collapse in the final over, dimissing Alice Davidson-Richards and Katie George in the space of three deliveries. Rodrigues however, kept her head, and calmly smashed Marsh’s fifth delivery for a boundary to take Diamonds to 124 for 5 in 19.5 overs.

Earlier in the day, having inserted Stars to bat on a sunny afternoon in Guildford, Diamonds got off to an incredible start when Katie Levick, the leg-spinner, dismissed Bryony Smith in the very first over in the innings. The right-hander’s torrid time with the bat continued as she was cleaned up by Levick off only her second delivery.

The visitors did not stop there, ripping through Stars’ top order in the power play. Levick accounted for her second wicket when she drew Sarah Taylor out of the crease and had her stumped for three, before Katie George, the left-arm seamer, came into the attack to send back Natalie Sciver. By the end of the power play, Stars had been reduced to 42 for 3.

Despite the flurry of wickets, Lizelle Lee attempted to continue with her attacking approach. She launched Beth Langston into the stands before crashing a couple of boundaries to take Stars past the 50-run mark. However, the right-hander’s cameo came to an end when she was caught on the leg-side boundary attempting to cart a delivery from Alice Davidson-Richards into the stands on 28.

At 52 for 4 in eight overs, Stars were staring down the barrel it seemed, with their last recognised pair —  van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp— in the middle. Diamonds were well on top and could smell blood. George, in the middle of a wonderful spell in which she moved the ball both in and away from the batters, had the South African pair poking and prodding outside off-stump. Neither looked comfortable, but they were determined to rebuild.

Using all their experience, the duo stitched together a 59-run association for the fifth wicket, initially soaking up the pressure, calmly rotating the strike before finding the boundary several times in the back-end of the innings. They made sure Diamonds were unable to make any further inroads, guiding Stars to somewhat safe territory.

Van Niekerk played a patient knock before falling in the penultimate over trying to up the ante. She scored a 37-ball 32. Kapp on the other hand, despite a slow start, played a more enterprising knock— an unbeaten run-a-ball 39. Their partnership guided Stars to a total of 121 for 7.

There are several ways to go about chasing totals around the 120-run mark, but Alyssa Healy only knows one— smack the cover off the ball, get well ahead of the run rate and cruise to an easy win. While the right-hander was out in the middle, thrashing Stars’ bowlers around the ground, it looked like Diamonds were home and dry. However, Stars’ experienced bowling attack pulled out all the stops, denting Diamonds’ progress in the middle, to drag the game to the final over.

Stars began their defence of an under-par 122 wonderfully, dismissing Lauren Winfield, Diamonds’ skipper and most consistent batter’ for seven. Marizanne Kapp, who showed great temperament and skill with the bat earlier in the day, delivered the perfect outswinger that moved just enough to catch Winfield’s edge and send her pack to the pavilion.

Healy, who looked set for a half-century, was dismissed by Amy Gordon for a 34-ball 38. When Stars saw the back of Hollie Armitage (24), with Diamonds' soft under-belly, it seemed like a comeback from the hosts was on the cards.

In the end it was not enough, as Stars crashed to their third consecutive defeat of the season, further denting their hopes of qualifying for finals day.


Brief Scores: Surrey Stars 121/6 in 20 overs (Marizanne Kapp 39*, Dane van Niekerk 32; Katie Levick 2-13) lost to Yorkshire Diamonds 124/5 in 19.5 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 42*, Hollie Armitage 24; Laura Marsh 2-15) by five wickets.