Date: 23 August 2019
Venue: Haslegrave Ground, Loughborough
It is the business end of the final edition of Women's Cricket Super League and Western Storm are the only team that have sealed their place in the top three. Match 24 between Loughborough Lightning and Surrey Stars promises to be good as the former have hit peak form at the right time, while the latter have hit a bit of a road block.
Lightning have played some smart cricket and have won their last three matches. The momentum and confidence is with Georgia Elwiss' team and they look a well-oiled unit. The biggest takeaway for Lightning is the form of Mignon du Preez and Georgia Adams. The former has shown a great deal of composure and character in scoring her runs, while the latter has mixed caution with aggression. The pair has been instrumental in reviving the fortunes of their team and they now look set to seal their spot for finals day.
The bowling has been steady, with the likes of Kathryn Bryce, Jenny Gunn, and Elwiss supporting Hayley Matthews and Amy Gordon who have both taken eight wickets - the most for Lightning in the tournament so far.
Standing in their way are Surrey Stars.
Stars have to find a way to come back as they have lost three matches in a row and are in danger of being knocked out. On Wednesday (August 21), they lost a close game against Western Storm. Sarah Taylor was the only batter to register a score of any substance, while the rest of her teammates crumbled around her. Natalie Sciver has got starts but has failed to cash in, while Lizelle Lee has been kept quiet in the last few matches and that has hampered the team's batting to a large extent. Dane van Niekerk's promotion up the order didn't work and it would be interesting to see if the management persists with her for one more game.
Stars' bowling, which is their stronger suit, has had to face the wrath of two rampaging batters in their previous games. First, it was the turn of du Preez to cash in on some wayward bowling, and then it was Danielle Wyatt's attacking batting that took the game away from Stars. All through the defeats, only one bowler has stood out from the rest -Marizanne Kapp with her relentless line and length.
The head to head record has tilted in favour of Lightning after their previous encounter which ended in a seven-wicket victory. Stars desperately need a win to keep their qualifying hopes alive.
With the likes of Matthews and Chamari Atapattu in the line up, one would expect at least one of these names to top the tournament batting charts. However, it is Georgia Adams who has quietly stolen the limelight to be the second leading run-scorer for Lightning in the final edition of WCSL. The youngster has shown that she is not afraid to face some dot balls and go for the big hits when needed. A fifty in her last match against Thunder proved why she is rated highly. A good player of spin, Adams will hope to continue to score runs against the Stars spinners.
In Stars' three defeats so far, Lee has not performed and that has put an extra bit of pressure on the rest of the batters. In Lee's last three innings her scores read 0, 9 and 28. If Stars still hope to qualify then Lee has to fire for them because once she is set no total or target is beyond her reach. Lee scored a hundred against Lightning in the 2018 final, and a hundred again would be enough for Stars to get back on track.
The last match Lightning played here ended on a winning note for them against Diamonds. It was a low scoring affair. The weather promises to be good with clear skies and less chance of rain. The team winning the toss will look to bat and put runs on board.
Loughborough Lightning: Georgia Elwiss (captain), Amy Jones (wk), Jenny Gunn, Kirstie Gordon, Abbey Freeborn, Lucy Higham, Tara Norris, Alice Monaghan, Kathryn Bryce, Georgia Adams, Sarah Glenn, Jo Gardner, Mignon du Preez, Hayley Matthews, Chamari Atapattu.
Surrey Stars: Natalie Sciver (c), Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor, Bryony Smith, Mady Villiers, Amy Gordon, Aylish Cranstone, Gwenan Davies, Grace Gibbs, Eva Gray, Hannah Jones, Rhianna Southby, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Dane van Niekerk.