Jemimah Rodrigues is a star, albeit not in a movie. She’s one on the cricket field. Her ability to score in any situation is what has pushed her quickly up the ladder. In this season of the Women's Cricket Super League (WCSL) as well - her first - the 18-year-old has shown why she is talked about so highly. Often, her feats overshadow those of her teammates, meaning their contributions become like the support cast of a movie.
In the finals league game of the tournament, yet again, it was a Rodrigues special that helped Yorkshire Diamonds earn a surprise win over Western Storm by just five runs at the County Ground in Taunton on Wednesday (August 28).
It was a truncated game – ten overs-a-side – after rain delayed the start of the match by close to two hours.
Diamonds scored 104 in their quota of overs, after being put in to bat. Rodrigues alone scored close to 60% of those runs in less than 50% of the balls used. Her 27-ball 60 was a chanceless knock, that left many wanting more. It had ten classy fours apart from two effortless sixes.
She walked in when her side was two down for just 21. Lauren Winfield and Alyssa Healy had taken four fours off the opening over, but Freya Davies’ introduction applied a sudden break. She got rid of Winfield off her first delivery of the match, while sending Healy back three balls later.
Rodrigues was unperturbed by the state of her side. She immediately got into the act, taking 14 off a Heather Knight over. That set the pace of her innings. The following over was bowled by her India team-mate, Deepti Sharma. She was carted for two successive fours as well.
At the end of the fifth over, Diamonds were 55 for 2, with Rodrigues on 28 off just 12.
Hollie Armitage was keeping her company all the while - in 32 balls the duo brought up their fifty-run stand. Soon enough, Rodrigues cut loose and Sonia Odedra bore the brunt of it. 14 of the 18 runs off her second over were hit by Rodrigues, bringing up her fifty off just 21 balls in the process. It was a good knock to follow her ton in the last match.
Another couple of fours came in the penultimate over bowled by Sharma. However, Rodrigues holed out to long off in the final over off Davies. It was the seamer’s third wicket in the innings. She had incredible figures of 2-0-7-3 to show for her efforts, taking her season tally to 18.
Storm have often relied on either the pair of Rachel Priest and Smriti Mandhana to give them a blazing start. On the odd occasion, Knight and Fran Wilson have guided them through. However, on Wednesday, one didn't see an encore. With Storm 23 for 3 inside the fifth over, the chase seemed more improbable by the minute.
However Wilson and Sophie Luff refused to give in. Initially, they took their time to get into the groove, primarily focussing on strike rotation. At the five-over mark, Storm were three down for 33. They needed 72 runs in 30 balls at that stage. The pressure was mounting.
After another quiet over, it was time to change gears. Alice Davidson-Richards was hit for two fours by Luff to start the seventh over, while it was closed with two maximums by Wilson. That over indicated a shift of momentum.
It was then Leigh Kasperek’s turn to be belted, going for 16 in her second over. Suddenly, the equation was down to Storm needing 26 off the last two overs.
Linsey Smith, however, delivered a 12-run over, featuring one four off Wilson’s blade. She had raced to 43 off just 16 balls. Suddenly it seemed as if both she and Luff had never taken time to get their eye in.
However, with 14 to get in the final over, Storm couldn’t cross the line - this, despite two free hits being available in the over. Under pressure, Beth Langston once delivered a high full toss and overstepped on the other occasion.
And so, a Storm win was not to be. Diamonds signed off their WCSL journey with a win, while the table toppers suffered their first loss of the season.
Brief Scores: Yorkshire Diamonds 104/4 in 10 overs (Jemimah Rodrigues 60; Freya Davies 3-7) beat Western Storm 99/3 in 10 overs (Fran Wilson 45*, Sophie Luff 31*; Linsey Smith 1-14) by five runs.