Natalie Sciver’s all-round effort saw the Surrey Stars pip the Southern Vipers with three balls to spare in a Women’s Cricket Super League match, writes Anitha Madikizela.
Third-placed Stars took on bottom-of-the-table Vipers for the second time this season. The Vipers won their previous clash by seven wickets with three balls in hand.
After losing the toss and being sent in to bat, the Vipers got off to a good start despite losing Tammy Beaumont in the first over.
Vipers captain Suzie Bates walked to the crease with the score at 6–1 and got off to a flying start and made things hard for the opposition’s opening bowlers who went at nearly 10 runs an over before Stars captain Sciver stepped up to the plate.
Sciver removed Danielle Wyatt (15 runs off 12 balls) in her first over, giving away just one run in the process.
As Bates looked to consolidate the innings, wickets kept falling regularly on the other end as the Stars pulled back the run rate. With top-scoring Bates (82 off 57, 13 fours and one six) the only batter standing her ground, Sciver returned to pick up her wicket and finished with the superb figures of 4-32 off her four overs.
The Vipers posted 147-9 in their allocated overs.
A slow start for the Stars saw them post just five runs in the first three overs of their innings, with Lizelle Lee taking eight balls to get off the mark.
However, once she started firing she picked out Fi Morris and smashed 19 runs (two fours, one six) from the off-spinner’s first over. Just as the innings started to gather momentum, Lee lost her wicket for 25 off 22 balls, and she was quickly followed into the pavilion by opening partner Bryony Smith (11 off 21).
Amelia Kerr and Lauren Bell (4-1-16-0) bowled well in the middle overs as Sarah Taylor and Sciver slowly built their partnership.
With the score at 94–2 in the 15th over, the pair decided to let loose and the boundaries started flowing. Kerr returned to the attack and broke the 73-run partnership between Taylor (38 off 30 balls, four fours) and Sciver, but the damage had already been done.
Even Bates’ valiant effort of taking two wickets in the 18th over (ending with figures of 2-22 off her four overs) couldn’t prevent Marizanne Kapp from hitting the winning runs in the final over to beat the Vipers by four wickets with three balls to spare.
As the Stars celebrated, led by MVP Sciver, the Vipers will have a lot to ponder as they look to improve on a bad run of results this season.
Sciver finished with 4-32 and 46 off 38 balls.
In the day’s other match, the Lancashire Thunder beat the Yorkshire Diamonds by nine runs.
The Thunder scored a decent 154-9, with Nicole Bolton (46 off 38 balls) and Harmanpreet Kaur (74 off 44 balls, S/R 168.18). Katherine Brunt took three key top-order wickets for 22 runs (economy 5.50), while Beth Langston (4-0-12-2, economy 3.00) and Katie Levick (2-25) were also among the wickets.
In response, Brunt scored a valiant 44 not out off 25 balls (economy 176.00) but couldn’t get her side over the line as they fell nine runs short of the Thunders’ score. Sophie Ecclestone was the pick of the bowlers, with figures of 4-1-17-1 (economy 4.25).
Both sides suffered two run outs in the flurry for late runs in their respective innings, with one from each side being a diamond duck (run out without facing a ball).
The Thunder are fourth with the Diamonds behind them in fifth spot, with both likely to be out of the running for 2018.
Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images