Sophie Ecclestone will be the key for Lancashire Thunder. ©ecb.co.uk

Match Preview: Yorkshire Diamonds vs Lancashire Thunder

Date: August 23, 2019

Venue: North Marine Road Ground, Scarborough

In cricket, generally the most thrilling of battles aren’t seen between a top side and a lower-ranked side. Nor between the top two sides for that matter. It is the clash between the lower-ranked teams that often proves to be the most fascinating of them all.

The 2019 edition of the Women’s Cricket Super League has seen two teams – one struggling to notch up their first win, and the other finding ways –unusual, if I may add – of conceding the advantage as well as the match.

Introducing Lancashire Thunder, Yorkshire Diamonds.

To cut to the chase, Thunder should have won their last match, but as has been the case this season, they found a way to lose it. They had Loughborough Lightning on the mat at 15 for 3. They had made life difficult for the opposition batters, drying up the runs in the first half. However, the wheels came off as the end of the innings approached.

Thunder leaked 61 runs off the last five overs and that proved to be the game-changer. Their batting hasn’t been the strongest facet and it crumbled on a track that was getting slower by the over. Sune Luus and Tahlia McGrath haven’t been able to provide them the best of starts and their middle order hasn’t fired either. Another chance beckons for them to change the narrative.

Diamonds haven’t been all that good either. They have just two wins to show for their efforts this season. There were at least two more games which Diamonds SHOULD have won – their first outing of the tournament against Surrey Stars and their last clash against Southern Vipers. On both occasions, they botched up the chase after bossing it for a major part.

Their batting looks thin on exposure after Jemimah Rodrigues and Alice Davidson-Richards. That is something they would need to sort out soon if they still garner hopes of finishing in the top three.

Friday (August 23) will tell us whether Diamonds keep their hopes in the tournament alive or whether Thunder get their first win in the final season of the tournament. The North Marine Road Ground in Scarborough will witness the action and Diamonds do not have the best of memories, having lost the only game they played there so far.

 

Key Players:

Jemimah Rodrigues

Rodrigues was seen humming a song while playing a guitar in a video shared on social media a couple of days ago. That shows she’s in a good space. Batting-wise too, things are looking good for the middle-order batter as her scores in the last three outings have been a 58, a match-winning 42 not out and a 32 that almost sealed it for Diamonds against Vipers.

Rodrigues has occupied the no.4 slot in the batting order, which is a crucial one. Often, she has found herself in the middle inside the powerplay. However, as they say, when in form, make sure to make it count. It’s imperative for the young batter to do so.

The close loss against Vipers on Wednesday (August 21) might have taught her a lesson or two about finishing the game. Expect that desire to improve and get the side across the line increased as she takes field against Thunder. Oh yes, her fielding and catching exploits means that the opposition cannot think of tapping it towards her and stealing runs.

 

Sophie Ecclestone

Ecclestone’s good form with the ball has continued from the Ashes series. Out of the seven matches she has played in WCSL 2019, only twice has she conceded over 30 runs in her spell. She has 10 wickets to show for her efforts, the most by a Thunder bowler and joint-third overall this season.

Often great players are determined by the number of games they help the team win on their own. Ecclestone has setting it up all this while, without really winning it for them. She doesn’t have a bad opponent in Diamonds, who would be low on confidence after a thrilling loss against Vipers. Thunder and all of those who’d be watching her would want her to win it for them. Will she, though?

 

Conditions:

Not much is known about what the track in Scarborough has to offer. This is just the second WCSL game on this ground. Last year when Yorkshire Diamonds played here against Western Storm, they lost despite posting over 170. Batting paradise by the looks of it then.

The weather is expected to be mostly cloudy. Will that make it a less of a paradise for the batters then? Only the teams on show can answer that question for us.

 

Squads:

Yorkshire Diamonds: Lauren Winfield (c), Katherine Brunt, Alice Davidson-Richards, Katie George, Linsey Smith, Hollie Armitage, Georgia Davis, Helen Fenby, Cordelia Griffith, Bess Heath, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Alyssa Healy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Leigh Kasperek.

Lancashire Thunder: Kate Cross (c), Alex Hartley, Sophie Ecclestone, Sophie Dunkley, Georgie Boyce, Emma Lamb, Natalie Brown, Danielle Collins, Alice Dyson, Ria Fackrell, Ellie Threlkeld, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Sune Luus, Tahlia McGrath.

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