Central Sparks v Lightning
Lightning finally registered their first victory in the tournament when they defeated Central Sparks in a thriller by six runs at New Road in Worcester. Sarah Bryce scored a brilliant 75 and shared a strong opening partnership with Bethan Ellis before bowlers held the nerve at the backend to finally get them over the line.
Sparks looked on course to chase down the 234-run target when Gwen Davies and Marie Kelly took the score to 121 for 1 in 23.1 overs. But once Kelly was dismissed when the score reached 150, they had a middle-order collapse and were reduced to 167 for 7 in the 39th over.
Alicia Presland (3/26) and Teresa Graves (2/17) proved difficult to get away and the equation came down to Sparks needing 34 from 30 deliveries with Emily Arlott finding couple of boundaries off Kathryn Bryce. But once Arlott was dismissed in the first ball of the 47th over Sparks struggled to find enough boundaries and eventually fell short.
Earlier, Lightning openers Sarah and Ellis put on a 148-run stand for the opening wicket after being inserted into bat by the hosts. The Scotland wicket-keeper was the aggressor and brought up her fourth consecutive fifty in the tournament from 69 balls in the 23rd over. Ellis (62) gave her good support during the 195-ball partnership.
Once Elizabeth Russell came back to remove both the openers, the Lightning innings had a slight wobble and the middle-order struggled when they tried to hit out against leg-spinner Anisha Patel, giving her three wickets during that period. Abigail Freeborn produced a 39-ball 36 from the other end to take the Lightning total to a respectable 233 for 8 from the 50 overs. Patel finished with figures of 3 for 49.
Southern Vipers v Sunrisers
Vipers made it four-in-four and handed Sunrisers a 49-run defeat in Southampton. Skipper Adams led from the front with the bat with an enterprising 108-ball 89 and a combined bowling effort made sure that Sunrisers could never recover from the early setbacks, succumbing to their fourth straight loss.
Batting first, Vipers got off to a bad start when Ella McCaughan, who scored her maiden-fifty in the last match, ran herself out. In-form batters Adams and Charlotte Dean (39) shared a 64-run partnership for the third wicket to take the score over 100 in the 23rd over. Post Dean’s dismissal Adams looked to be more aggressive and hit Grace Scrivens for three fours in an over bringing up her fifty from 80 balls in the process.
Adams kept playing her shots even as batters at the other end struggled and was looking good to go for the final push to take her side to a big total. But she ran herself out trying to steal a second run in a period that saw Vipers lose three wickets for a solitary run to be 184 for 7 in the 40th over. The lower-order tried to stay there hitting the odd boundary, but they were eventually bowled out for 232 in the last over of their innings. Katie Midwood was the most frugal among the Sunrisers bowlers and finished with figures of 10-1-33-2.
Chasing 233 to win, Sunrisers had a disastrous start losing captain Amara Carr and her partner Alex Griffith in the first two overs scoring only a solitary run between them. Sunrisers looked down and out when Tara Norris had Grace Scrivens trapped in front to reduce them to 85 for 5 in the 19th over.
Kelly Castle and Joanne Gardner (39) then put on a 63-run partnership to give them a semblance of hope. But Adams gave the Vipers the breakthrough when she had Castle caught by Maia Bouchier for 24. From there, Sunrisers' innings came to a rapid close losing last five wickets for 35 runs to be bundled out for 183 in 43.5 overs.Norris headlined the bowling efforts taking three wickets.
Western Storm v South East Stars
A brilliant century from skipper Luff and allround effort from Georgia Hennessy helped Western Storm overpower South East Stars to give them third win in the competition at The Bristol County Ground. The duo shared a 162-run partnership to take Storm to a clinical seven-wicket win.
Defending only 212, Stars skipper Natasha Farrant gave them a dream start bowling Fi Morris for a duck in the first over of the chase but from there onwards it was the Storm show all the way with Luff and Hennessy finding boundaries at regular intervals. Hennessy was the aggressor at the start scoring her fifty from only 61 balls. Luff continued her good run in the tournament, took her time initially and accelerated once she went past her fifty. She was ecstatic when she brought up her hundred in the 46th over. Although she lost her partner Hennessey in the same over, she sealed the game in first ball of the next over with a boundary.
Earlier, Stars opting to bat could score only 212 for 9 in their innings with opener White scoring a stroke-filled fifty. She shared a couple of useful partnerships with Aylish Cranstone and Maxine Blythin (50), but once White got out to an ill-judged run immediately after her fifty, Blythin struggled to find support as wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Hannah Jones (28) played some useful shots, but it was Blythin’s patient 90-ball innings that helped Stars eventually take their score past 200. Hennessy was rewarded with three wickets for her accurate bowling where she kept the ball straight and in line of the stumps.
Lightning 233/8 in 50 overs (Sarah Bryce 75, Bethan Ellis 62; Anisha Patel 3/49, Elizabeth Russell 2/43) beat Central Sparks (Marie Kelly 53, Gwen Davies 50; Alicia Presland 3/26, Teresa Graves (2/17) by six runs.
Southern Vipers 232 all out in 49.5 overs (Georgia Adams 89, Charlotte Dean 39; Katie Midwood 2/33) beat Sunrisers 183 all out in 43.5 overs (Joanne Gardner 39, Alice MacLeod 35; Tara Norris 3/37, Providence Cowdrill 2/21) by 49 runs.
South East Stars 212/9 in 50 overs (Kirstie White 50, Maxine Blythin 50; Georgia Hennessy 3/40, Alex Griffiths 2/53) lost to Western Storm 215/3 in 46.1 overs (Sophie Luff 104*, Georgia Hennessey 86; Natasha Farrant 1/28) by seven wickets.