Southern Vipers v Loughborough Lightning (Aegis Bowl Southampton, 28 August) – Broadcast live by SKY Sports, commentators billed the match as a dress-rehearsal for Sunday’s semi-final (winner meets Storm.)
Georgia Adams (Lightning) was beefed-up for the commentators by her proud father (former England player Chris Adams). Without Lauren Bell (rested), Vipers bowling attack lacked quality. Isabelle Wong looked wayward, lacking consistent line-and-length before she earns the title as the first Jofra Archer of English women’s cricket.
Put in to bat by Vipers – minus incoming Shabnim Ismail (South Africa), or outgoing Hayley Matthews (West Indies); England opener Amy Jones slogged New Zealand star (former captain) Suzi Bates for six off her first delivery. Jones finished undefeated on 74 off 53 balls – her best ever performance in difficult playing conditions. Commentators coined the fine mist as ‘mizzle’ – neither rain nor drizzle.
Lightning faltered at the half-way point with 75 runs on the board. Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu (35); was clean-bowled by Bates (1-36). Six runs later, Vipers’ captain and England’s Tammy Beaumont juggled a ballooning catch to remove Georgia Adams (2) gifting fast bowling wannabe Izzy Wong (1-25) her maiden wicket. Captain Georgia Elwiss was promptly dropped by Tash Farrant but mustered up a six with the next ball.
During the 16th over, two overs after Lightning posted 100 runs, the game appeared to swing to-and-fro when Australia’s Amanda-Jade Wellington had Lightning floundering on a hat-trick ball at 125-2, then 125-3. Having had Captain Elwiss spooned to Paige Scholfield, Wellington (2-22) awarded a golden duck to former South African captain Mignon duPreez leg-before, first ball. SKY commentators found it hilarious that England team veteran Jenny Gunn should come to face Wellington’s hat-trick ball, wearing multiple track suits to defy the weather. Gunn survived and battled onto 12* partnering Jones, unbeaten on 74* out of Lightning’s 163-4.
Lightning set Vipers 164 to win
For Lightning, Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu and England’s Kirstie Gordon (2-18) bowled tightly, ensuring they kept Vipers top-heavy batting in check. With identical economy (4.5) they bowled 27 dot balls and took five wickets between them in progressively worsening conditions. Vipers were playing without outgoing Stafanie Taylor (West Indies) and incoming Lauren Bell, was rested until Sunday’s semi-final.
The target seemed a tall order for Vipers, knowing that had rain stopped play, Lightning would win using the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern calculation. Hard-hitting Danielle Wyatt (0) was caught at backward point by Kirstie Gordon, awarded a golden duck by Chamari Atapattu (at 1-1). Suzie Bates (20) was stumped by Jones, unwisely coming down the wicket to Gunn (at 23-2). Gunn also caught Tammy Beaumont in the deep (13) off Sarah Glenn (at 42-3). By then Vipers’ three most formidable batters were sat outside the pavilion wondering what happened.
When Amanda-Jade Wellington (15) reached double figures until bowled by Kirstie Gordon (2-18), Vipers were struggling to stay in the match – well behind at their half-way point (at 68-5). One silver lining was a cameo by Fi Morris – pictured left – who scored a record 36 runs at Vipers’ No.8, before being bowled by Chamari Atapattu (3-18). After the match, Tammy Beaumont was un-phased by defeat and looked forward to seeing Vipers’ batting back at full strength in Sunday’s semi-final.
Result: Loughborough Lightning beat Southern Vipers by 36 runs
Lightning 163 for 4 (Jones 74*, Atapattu 35, Elwiss 28, Wellington 2-22) beat Vipers 127 all out -19 overs (Morris 36, Bates 20, Atapattu 3-18, Gordon 2-18)
You can view the full scorecard here.