Thunder vs Northern Diamonds
After getting thrashed at the hands of Vipers in their tournament opener, Thunder made a strong comeback in their second game on Wednesday and beat Northern Diamonds by 56 runs. After winning the toss at Sale, Thunder skipper Eleanor Threlkeld had no hesitation in batting first and rightfully so as the wicket looked an absolute belter.
Openers Emma Lamb and Georgie Boyce started off watchfully and helped the team cross the fifty-run mark in the eighth over of the innings. They stitched a 95-run stand to put their side in the ascendancy. The partnership was finally broken in the 13th over when Abigail Glen got rid of Lamb as soon as she reached her half-century.
Despite losing her partner Boyce continued to take on Diamonds' bowlers and never allowed the run rate to drop. She eventually got out in the 19th over, at an individual score of 65 runs off 56 balls. Thunder's batting order saw a mini collapse towards the fag end as batters kept getting dismissed while trying to up the ante. Katie Levick brought Diamonds back into the contest as she bagged a four-wicket haul while conceding merely 22 runs in her four overs.
Chasing 149 to win, Diamonds lost their star from the last game as Lauren Winfield-Hill got out for a duck. She was replaced by Nat Sciver but Sciver too fell after just scoring two runs. Wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals and Diamonds never really got the opportunity to comeback in the hunt. They ultimately folded for 92 runs in their 20 overs. Hannah Jones turned out to be the star with the ball for Thunder as she picked a three-fer.
South East Stars vs Central Sparks
Both teams were coming into the match on the back of victories in their respective tournament openers. After winning the toss at Woodbridge Road in Guildford, Stars' skipper Bryony Smith invited Sparks to set a target on the board. But Smith was made to regret her decision later as Stars' batters put on a show. The opening pair of skipper Eve Jones and Issy Wong gave Sparks a rollicking start and hammered Stars' bowlers right from the outset.
While Jones was slightly sedate in her approach, Wong fired on all cylinders as she struck 45 runs at an outstanding strike-rate of 160.71. Her knock included five fours and two sixes. Stars saw the back of Wong in the 11th over of the innings but still couldn't have any respite. Wicket-keeper batter Amy Jones soon took charge and scored a quick-fire 40 off 28 deliveries. Some late flourish from Gwenan Davies propelled Sparks to 170 at the end of their 20 overs.
In reply, Stars needed their opening pair of skipper Smith and Aylish Cranstone to fire but that couldn't happen. The duo got the team to 44 in and was looking good but Wong came to haunt them again, this time with the ball in hand and dismissed Cranstone in the sixth over. However, Smith and Alice Capsey got together in the middle after Cranstone's dismissal and tried to march towards the total but Smith's dismissal in the tenth over of the innings sealed the deal in Sparks' favour.
Grace Potts didn't allow any of the remaining batters to rear their heads and bagged a four-wicket haul to help Sparks secure a 34-run win at the end.
Southern Vipers vs Lightning
Tournament favourites Vipers took on Lightning in another clash of the day at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. While Vipers had won their previous fixture, Lightning were coming into the game after suffering a loss at the hands of Northern Diamonds. After being put into bat by Lightning skipper Kathryn Bryce, Vipers put up 155 runs on the board for the loss of five wickets. Most of the Vipers' batters got starts but none of them managed to consolidate.
Maia Bouchier top-scored for Vipers with 41 but it was Danni Wyatt and Freya Kemp's quick-fire knocks that provided the Vipers' innings the much-needed impetus and enabled them to cross the 150-run mark.
In pursuit of 156, Lightning never looked in the contest. Skipper Bryce played the lone hand in the chase as she scored 54 runs off 51 balls but it was never going to be enough. Wickets at regular intervals plagued Lightning's run-chase and they eventually managed to put up only 124 on the board in their 20 overs. The pair of Lauren Bell and off-spinner Charlie Dean were magnificent as they picked six wickets together to derail Lightning's run chase.
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Sunrisers vs Western Storm
Both teams had faced defeats in their tournament openers and hence a tight tussle was on the cards at The Cloud County Ground in Chelmsford and that's what it turned out to be.
The opening combination of Cordelia Griffith and Grace Scrivens propelled Sunrisers to a quick start but before they could continue their merry way Griffith lost her wicket as a result of a run out.
However, Scrivens carried on and scored a half-century to put Sunrisers into safe shores but lack of power-hitting down the order saw them post 160 at the end of their innings.
Chasing 161 to win, Storm's innings witnessed an early collapse as their top-three batters for just 29 runs on the board. But a 41-run partnership between opener Heather Knight and Danielle Gibson steadied Storm's ship and just when it looked that Storm were back into the hunt things took a nasty turn again.
They lost both Knight and Gibson in quick succession. Needing 90 runs to win off 57 balls with just five wickets remaining, it needed a determined approach from the lower order batters and that's what they produced. The trio of Katie George, Wicket-keeper batter Natasha Wraith, and Alex Griffiths put on an astounding display with their bats to clinch a hair-raiser for the Storm.
Thunder 148 for 7 in 20 overs (Georgie Boyce 65; Katie Levick 4/22) beat Northern Diamonds 92 all out in 20 overs (Bess Heath 19; Emma Jones 3/23) by 56 runs
Central Sparks 170 for 6 in 20 overs (Issy Wong 45; Alice Davidson-Richards 2/27 ) beat South East Stars 136 all out in 20 overs (Bryony Smith 41; Grace Potts 4/36) by 34 runs
Southern Vipers 155 for 5 in 20 overs (Maia Bouchier 41; Marie Kelly 2/17) beat Lightning 124 for 8 in 20 overs (Kathryn Bryce 54; Lauren Bell 3/12) by 31 runs
Sunrisers 160 for 5 in 20 overs (Grace Scrivens 56; Heather Knight 1/22) lost to Western Storm 164 for 9 in 20 overs (Katie Geroge 34; Grace Scrivens 4/33) by one wicket