The Stars struck a moral victory over the Western Storm in a dress rehearsal for their 2018 Women’s Cricket Super League semi-final rematch in Brighton on Monday, 27 August, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.
The semi-final will be followed later in the day by the final against Loughborough Lightning, who secured their final-spot despite losing to the Yorkshire Diamonds.
The Stars had their fate in their hands as they needed a win to ensure their spot in the running for the Kia Super League trophy. Securing victory in the last over after a close contest ensured that the Lancashire Thunders’ win over the Southern Vipers didn’t derail them from reaching the playoffs.
Meanwhile, even though Loughborough Lightning lost their match against the Diamonds, they still progressed to the final automatically as the Storm failed to record the bonus-point win which would have given them the legs to leapfrog Lightning on the table.
The final round results confirm that the Stars and the Storm will meet again in the semi-final in a cosmic battle to advance to the final, where the in-form Lightning eagerly await them. It will be a tough day for both teams as they will need to win two matches in a day to be crowned champions.
Lightning appear to be the favourites, even though they lost a close encounter with the Diamonds. Winning the toss and electing to bat first, Beth Mooney’s 76 runs off 50 balls (10 fours) was the foundation for the Diamonds’ score of 148-6, and it proved enough to claim the win, having restricted Lightning to 145-6 off their 20 overs.
The winning moment for @surreycricket…
A dramatic conclusion to an entertaining encounter
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) August 18, 2018
Inspired bowling performances from Katie Thompson (2-18 off four overs), Thea Brookes (2-23) and Alice Davidson-Richards (2-17) not only restricted the Lightning run rate but also helped the Diamonds pick up wickets regularly during the last 10 overs of the innings. The Lightning fought back valiantly but the constant breaks in momentum proved too much for the top-ranked team.
Elsewhere, Lizelle Lee was in top form for the Surrey Stars as she powered them to victory with a swashbuckling 48 off 28 balls, which included seven fours and two sixes. Her opening partnership with Bryony Smith (39 off 35 balls, with five fours and a six) provided enough of a platform to help the Stars canter to a five-wicket victory.
The Lightning and the Storm have blown the rest of the competition away during the group stages, while the Stars remain the dark horses that could upset the top-ranked two to claim their maiden Super League title. After all, they have the vast experience and talent of Lee, Sarah Taylor, Natalie Sciver, Marizanne Kapp and many more to call upon.
On the other hand, the dominance of the Lightning and the Storm throughout the tournament suggests that finals day could culminate in an epic top-of-the-table clash to prove which queens have the right to the Super League trophy.
Western Storm v Surrey Stars – Stars won by 5 wickets (2 balls remaining)
Lancashire Thunder v Southern Vipers – Thunder won by 9 runs
Yorkshire Diamonds v Loughborough Lightning – Diamonds won by 3 runs
Photo: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images