Dane van Niekerk found top form to smash 91 runs and take two wickets as Loughborough beat Surrey in the Women’s Super League.
It has been a long time coming for the Proteas all-rounder, whose previous scores in the league have been 1, 0, 18. But she took just one over to get her sights in before launching herself at the bowling. She contributed 33 of the 45 runs scored in the power play, including two fours off her Proteas teammate Marizanne Kapp and 12 runs off one over from England international Natalie Sciver.
It was cruel irony that she fell to Kapp, caught by Sciver, with just nine runs needed for her century.
Van Niekerk went to her 91 off 64 balls with 13 fours and three sixes, underpinning a total of 168-6 in which she was given a cameo support by Australian Ellyse Perry, who smashed 28 off 13 balls.
Van Niekerk followed this with two wickets in her first two overs of leg-spin, holding the Stars to 2-26, as the Lightning completed a 34-run win. Kapp had a contrasting day, scoring four and taking 1-23.
The Proteas fast bowler Shabnim Ismail had a similarly satisfying day, taking 2-23 off her four overs as the Yorkshire Diamonds beat Lancashire Thunder by 95 runs.
The Diamonds posted a healthy 166-6 after they won the toss and chose to bat at Old Trafford, and Ismail silenced the Thunder by bowling West Indian Hayley Matthews with just four runs on the board.
Ismail’s quota was used early, by which stage the Lancashire lasses were 57-4 after 11. Katherine Brunt took a hat-trick to end the innings and take home 3-6 off three.
Elsewhere, Lizelle Lee was but a spectator while her Western Storm team overran the Southern Vipers’ total of 137 with eight wickets to spare.