DEBRIEF: WNCL – Double Brucie Bonus Puts New South Wales Top

Team Played Won Lost Points NRR
1. New South Wales Breakers 2 1 1 6 1.51
2. Victoria 2 1 1 5 0.15
3. Queensland Fire 2 1 1 4 0.20
4. ACT Meteors 2 1 1 4 -0.01
5. Western Fury 2 1 1 4 -0.03
6. South Australian Scorpions 2 1 1 4 -0.09
7. Tasmania 2 1 1 4 -1.66

With 2 rounds played this weekend, perennial champions New South Wales sit at the top of the WNCL ladder, despite a dramatic opening-day loss to Queensland. Queensland put themselves in a great position, bowling NSW out for 149, only for Rene Farrell to knock-over their entire top order in a remarkable 5-wicket opening spell which left Queensland 18-6. But Queensland recovered thanks to 50s from Sammy-Jo Johnson and Josie Dooley to win the match with just one wicket remaining!

Normal service was restored for NSW the following day, as they smashed Tasmania for 344 – Rachel Haynes and Alyssa Healy both hitting 80s – and then bowled them out for 158 to grab a double-dose of bonus points.

This was after Tasmania, under new coach Salliann Briggs, had got their first points on the board in almost 2 years on Day 1, thanks to Player of the Match Corinne Hall, who hit 86 off 98 balls as Tasmania successfully chased ACT’s 218 all out to win by 5 wickets.

For South Australia, Tahlia McGrath hit 105 as they posted 251 versus Victoria, but McGrath’s efforts were trumped by Meg Lanning’s 120* as Victoria chased the runs in under 40 overs for the bonus-point win that puts them 2nd.

There was better luck for South Australia the following day, as Bridget Patterson became their second centurion of the weekend, hitting 109 against Western Australia, who were then bowled out for 205, with 3 wickets apiece for Megan Schutt and Amanda Wellington.

With everyone getting a win on the opening weekend, it’s all to play for when WNCL resumes in… er… November – yes, you read that right – without the internationals, who will be in the West Indies (along with us!) for the Women’s World T20. Then we have to wait until February for the final round of games, prior to the top two playing off in the final on February 9.

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OPINION: The 100 Is Still Nonsense… But It’s All The Nonsense We’ve Got

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we weren’t invited to the trials for The 100 that took place this week at Loughborough and Trent Bridge; but enough information has dripped out to get a good idea of where things are going with the ECB’s new competition.

As the ECB are discovering, cheap slogans and simple promises don’t necessarily translate easily into actual workable solutions. The problems begin with the very concept of “100” – a number of balls which it turns out isn’t divisible by 6, and so can’t be slotted neatly into traditional 6-ball overs! So… let’s have 5 ball overs… but that means more changes of end… okay, so let’s have 10 ball overs… but that would lead to fast bowlers getting injured… okay so let’s have 5 or 10 ball overs, according to whether the batsman’s mother’s maiden name ends in a “Y”?

Not quite as simple as it sounded in the blue-sky marketing meeting, is it?

Other ideas floated around – cutting the “red tape” of LBWs and/or PowerPlays – have gone nowhere, because it turns out there were actually quite good reasons for these laws after all, and scrapping them would have a lot of negative externalities – scrap LBW and I’d give it 5 minutes before batsmen started taking advantage and using their pads deliberately to protect the stumps; scrap the PowerPlay and you’d have 9 men on the boundary before you could say “Howzat?”!

So it looks like what we will end up with is exactly like cricket… but with a more complicated “overs” system (possibly not even called “overs” but “fives”) which they will try to mask by having a big scoreboard count down from 100 – even though they HAVE to keep some concept of overs (/ fives) to control how many balls each bowler can bowl and from which end they will be bowled, because counting actual balls would obviously be a nightmare!

What a farce!

And yet… for all the nonsense… there will be an upside – the fillip in visibility that will come as the media latch on to Something New™, as they did with the KSL; the Free-To-Air TV numbers that will dwarf those that have sat behind Sky’s paywall for a generation; the families that will come for the fireworks in the sky and stay for the fireworks on the field.

There will be more opportunities for players too – especially the fringe players, with two additional rosters to fill. So the players are on-board, because it offers them more – more cricket, more visibility, more fame… and more money!

And at the end of the day… as I’m not the first to say… it’s still cricket – swingers will still swing; spinners will still spin; and batsmen will still bat.

And we’ll be there to watch, like we always are.

Because it might be nonsense.

But it’s all the nonsense we’ve got.

NEWS: Bates Quits New Zealand Captaincy

Suzie Bates has resigned as New Zealand captain after six years in the role.

But 30-year-old Bates will continue to play for the White Ferns, saying:

“I still have a lot to contribute to the White Ferns and international cricket and that the best way for me to do that is by concentrating more energy into my performances on the field.”

Bates has led New Zealand at a time of great change, with the professionalisation of the women’s game adding new challenges for the smaller nations, as they try to keep up with the pace set by Australia and England, but without the same resources.

Bates responded by burning the candle at all 3 ends to try to maintain the pace – playing domestic cricket at home in New Zealand and in Australia during the antipodian summer, literally shuttling between the two; then spending her winters in England playing county cricket for Kent and latterly Hampshire, and KSL for Southern Vipers.

It was a schedule that was perhaps starting to take its toll, as she began to look a slightly tired shawdow of her usual self towards the end of this season in England.

Bates will be succeeded as New Zealand captain by Amy Satterthwaite who will take charge for the upcoming T20 series versus Australia.

This is clearly not an appointment for the future – Satterthwaite is a year older than Bates – but she has the experience that New Zealand need right now to keep the seat warm for a couple of years until Amelia Kerr – the only realistic long term candidate – can perhaps take over after the 2021 World Cup.

MATCH REPORT: The West win the Beyond Boundaries Women’s T20 Scottish Cup Final

Jake Perry reports

——

The West 112-3 (E Watson 55*, E Talbot 1 for 21) beat Edinburgh South-Stewart’s Melville 111-4 (K White 60*, C Dalton 3 for 19) by seven wickets

It was a tale of two openers at New Williamfield as The West claimed the 2018 Beyond Boundaries Women’s T20 Scottish Cup with a pulsating seven wicket win over Edinburgh South/Stewart’s Melville. Although ESSM’s Kathryn White carried her bat for an unbeaten half-century, The West’s Ellen Watson matched the feat with 55 not out as her quick-fire partnership of 60 with captain Charlotte Dalton confirmed a maiden cup win for their young team.

After the loss of Catherine Holland (7) and Kathryn Fraser (0) reduced ESSM to 42 for 2 within the first nine overs of the first innings, the experience of former Scotland international White had proved telling as she and captain Hannah Short (21) led their side’s recovery with a fourth wicket partnership of 59. White’s powerful hitting was a constant threat, and, despite being given a life on 53 after she turned a no-ball into the hands of Lois Wilkinson, the forty-year-old’s belligerent 60 had put her side into a good position as the innings came to an end.

Charlotte Dalton’s three wickets had kept The West in touch, however, and with tight bowling from Naimh Robertson-Jack (three overs for 5), Moon Mughis (two overs for 11) and Lois Wilkinson (four overs for 12), too, the game was tantalisingly poised.

The West’s chase got away to a shaky start as Neyma Shaikh (0) and Abtaha Maqsood (2) fell within the first four overs, and when the dangerous Wilkinson (16) followed in the tenth to leave the score on 52 for 3 the fate of the innings, and the match, rested on the partnership between Ellen Watson and the incoming Charlotte Dalton.

Any potential nerves were settled quickly, however, as the two calmly led their side to victory. The in-form Dalton found the rope twice in consecutive deliveries from Chloe Keily, first pulling a high full toss through backward square before skipping down to plant a lofted drive over mid-on. Watson followed suit off the first ball of the next over, too, as she played a neat turn off her pads through fine leg before bringing up her fifty as the target loomed ever closer. Fittingly, it was left to the Scotland player to seal the win in the 17th over with her sixth boundary in what had been a well-paced knock.

“We’re absolutely delighted,” said Charlotte Dalton. “We lost our quarter-final last week but got through because another team wasn’t able to field a team today so we were quite fortunate, but I think that our performance today has vindicated us. We put in a really strong team performance in the semi-final against Carlton which was really pleasing. We come from a variety of clubs, we don’t train together, so for us to be able to come together and play like that has done everybody proud.

“We had lost to ESSM in the quarter-final last weekend so we felt we had something to prove against them today. We maybe gave them a few too many runs at the top of the innings but our bowlers and fielders really pulled it back and then our batters put on a really awesome performance. There was a bit of squeaky bum time in overs twelve to fourteen, I was doing the maths in my head and it was almost a run a ball needed and it was getting tense, but what a time for Ellen Watson to score her maiden fifty. She made it look easy and really steadied the ship to take us to the win.”

In the two semi-finals earlier in the day, a partnership of 55 between Abtaha Maqsood (28*) and Lois Wilkinson (24) was decisive as The West chased down Carlton’s 83 for 7 within fifteen overs, whilst Kathryn White (41), Chloe Keily (3 for 5), Kathryn Fraser (2 for 5) and Emma Phipps (2 for 10) were the stand-out performers in ES-SM’s 71 run win over George Watson’s College.

The play-off between the two capital sides saw Carlton claim third-place after an eight-wicket win against outgoing cup-holders GWC. Scotland U21s Charis Scott (3 for 5) and Ikra Farooq (2 for 2) restricted GWC to 49 for 7, leaving Carlton’s top order to put the finishing touches onto a comfortable victory by chasing down the target with more than ten overs to spare.

——

Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

MATCH REPORT: Worcestershire v Cornwall WCC Division 3 Play-Off

By Richard Clark with quotes from Worcestershire Vice-Captain & Wicketkeeper Chloe Hill

We didn’t get very much of the Bank Holiday sunshine that had been hinted at, but we did get a victory to celebrate, and with it promotion, and for Worcestershire’s Women’s Rapids that would do very nicely, thank you.

In the end it was comfortable – 97 runs the margin – although there were times during the afternoon when the odd doubt may have crept in, as Worcestershire did their best to undermine an excellent start with the bat.

There are many ways to reach a total of 227 for 9 off 50 overs, and this was probably among the more unlikely ones. Opting to bat after winning the toss, the Rapids could hardly have been better-placed at 147 without loss, and rattling along at five-an-over, only for a flurry of wickets to derail their progress and leave them a little way short of where they might have expected to be.

The innings was founded on half-centuries from Chloe Hill (78 from 86 balls) and Beth Ellis (69 from 118).  As the numbers suggest, Hill played the aggressor with eight boundaries, whilst Ellis was happy in a largely supporting role, turning over the strike and collecting singles at every opportunity.  The Rapids could hardly have wished for better.

And yet… attempting to turn the second ball of the match from Emily Geach to leg, Hill’s leading edge had looped up to midwicket where the fielder appeared to misjudge it, coming in a couple of steps before having to back-track in a vain attempt to take the catch. Fine margins…

*   *   *

“My heart was in my mouth. The biggest match of the year, all that build-up, so much at stake, and I’d stuffed it up right at the start!  I can’t describe the relief when I saw she wasn’t going to get to it.  But I guess it woke me up a lot!!”

*   *   *

The partnership wasn’t chanceless.  Hill was perhaps fortunate to survive a huge stumping appeal, and rode her luck again when a fierce pull went straight through the hands of Kellie Williams, striking the Cornish skipper a blow on the eye that forced her off the field for a while and left her with a handsome black eye to remember Hill by.

More than once, a fumble at the stumps allowed the batters to escape a run-out and the edge of the bat was beaten a good few times.  But Hill and Ellis ploughed on for the best part of 30 overs until Ellie Mitchell deceived and bowled Hill as she gave the leg-spinner the charge.

*   *   *

“Oh, there was a massive amount of frustration!  Everyone who was there would have seen my face when I walked off!  Who wouldn’t love a century on their home ground?!  But from the team perspective we couldn’t have dreamed of a better position to be in.  Runs on the board and plenty of batting to come.  I thought, ‘I’ve done my job and the rest of the team can chip in nicely to reach a big score.’”

*   *   *

Mitchell waited politely for Ellis to collect the two runs she needed to complete her own half-century at the other end, and then took up the attack again to great effect.  Within five balls she ripped out the “engine room” of the Worcestershire order, doing to the experienced Clare Boycott and Lauren Rowles exactly what she had done to Hill, but this time without either of them troubling the scorers.  147 for none had become 149 for 3.  Not so comfortable now…

Ellis and Rachael Howells steadied things for a while, adding 27 for the fourth wicket before Howells was caught behind chasing a wide one, and thereafter arrivals and departures came and went at a rate that would have alarmed the Stationmaster at nearby Foregate Street.  It wasn’t long before the Rapids found themselves 199 for 8, with Ellis among those to go, bowled by Charlotte Phillips.

*   *   *

“This 100% wasn’t in the plan!  You always expect to have a sticky spell during an innings but we couldn’t get ourselves going – although the strip was the same one used two days earlier for the Men’s T20 Blast quarter-final, a low-scoring match itself.  But with the positive start we thought we had a big total coming at the end of 50 overs.”

“I think we got caught between the need to push on and the need for new batters to just take an over or two.”

“But credit to Cornwall too.  They kept at us, there was a lot of ‘pace off the ball’ and not much that was there to hit.  They took the initiative away from us as much as we surrendered it.  We definitely needed a few runs from the lower order as I know we can bat right through.”

*   *   *

Those few runs came – 28 of them in the last seven overs – with the relatively experienced Jess Humby marshalling youngsters Ellie Fleck (the only player other than Hill or Ellis to reach double-figures) and Philippa Bray though.  It was “one of those” totals – a match that perhaps should have been out of reach… wasn’t.

Cornwall began with a flourish, Boycott’s opening over going for 14 with the help of five wides, but thereafter she and Issy Wong applied the brakes, albeit without being able to make inroads.  Mitchell (if anybody should know about opening at New Road, it’s a Mitchell…) and Caitlin Burnett looked largely unhurried.

At 34 without loss after eight overs, neither team had put themselves in the ascendency until Emily Arlott rattled Burnett’s stumps in her first over, and almost immediately Wong did likewise to Mitchell from the other end next over.

Rapids on top, and more so when the same bowlers repeated the dose to Amber Cummins (LBW to Arlott) and Sophie Richards (bowled by Wong).  Cornwall 44 for 4 and badly holed below the waterline…

*   *   *

“We didn’t start as well as we would have liked, but we knew a couple of wickets would change things.  Em and Issy are both pretty quick and I would back their bowling to take wickets.  For a 16-year old Issy gets some real pace, hits the gloves very hard which is pleasing to see at her age. Once Issy found her length and her rhythm she was on fire!”

“Em’s got so much experience now.  She knows exactly what she’s doing. She trains extremely hard to hit her areas.  Having seen Cornwall use their slower bowlers well we weren’t sure how pace would go.  Everyone knows it can fly off the bat and runs can come quickly.  But Em and Issy just didn’t give anything away in that spell.  With hindsight, that was the period that won us the match.”

*   *   *

For a while, Rebecca Odgers and Joleigh Roberts defied the home side.  Odgers in particular played beautifully, hitting 11 fours in her 56 from 57 balls, most of them textbook drives through the off side, and keeping Cornwall up with the rate.

They were undone by the curse of the drinks break, though, Roberts just failing to beat Boycott’s throw from backward point after an untimely mid-wicket “debate” about the possibility of pinching a single, and Charlotte Williams was snaffled by Rowles at midwicket soon afterwards, leaving the visitors 81 for 6.

Geach held firm in a stand of 40 as Odgers continued to carve away at the other end but the final nail came when Ellis had Odgers stumped by Hill.  Odgers couldn’t have moved her foot very far, or for very long, but Hill’s hands were fast, and she knew…

*   *   *

“When someone’s batting like that there’s always something in the back of your mind that thinks she could do it all on her own.  You know deep down it’s unlikely but it’s that little voice of doubt that nags away.  You get anxious, you try a bit too hard for a wicket and it doesn’t come, so you get a bit more anxious, and so on. But as soon as I saw her foot lift and drag out slightly I knew I’d got her, and let’s just say it was definitely a massive relief when that finger went up!”

*   *   *

The final two wickets fell quickly – fittingly one each for Wong and Arlott, who finished with 4 for 22, and 3 for 21 respectively.  Ellis deserves a mention too, her ten overs quietly yielding 1 for 29.  Job done.

Cornwall will be disappointed but looking down their team sheet I recognised at least five names who have played age-group cricket against my 15-year old daughter.  They include Odgers and Geach, who took 2 for 29 off her ten overs and – Odgers excepted – faced more balls than anybody else.  There should be encouragement for them in the performances of those youngsters.  They can only continue to improve.

For Worcestershire, Division 2 awaits after a single season away.  It will be a challenge but one the Rapids will hope to meet head on.

*   *   *

“What a day!  It’s always fun to play at New Road but to do so with something real at stake, and to win in front of your own supporters – not much beats that!  And to be back in Division 2 where we knew we should have been last season is great!”

“There were celebrations and it was great that we could do that with our teammates, friends and families.  And personally, I just want to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to all our supporters this season, and to our home ground Kidderminster CC and New Road.  Hopefully all these positives can go into next season.  As we all say,  #UPTHERAPIDS!🍐🌊”

——–

Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

STATS: KSL2018 Non-International Rankings

As we observed when looking at the overall Batting and Bowling Rankings, the tendency of sides to prioritise the recruitment of big-hitting batsmen when selecting their overseas players has meant that young English talent has had more opportunities with the ball than with the bat – non-internationals (who are by definition English-qualified – the rules essentially require this) bowled 35% of the overs in KSL2018 but batted just 15%.

Especially regarding the batting therefore, these stats are then very much a reflection of the opportunities a player had, rather than necessarily how “good” she is.

Topping the Non-International Batting Rankings is Thea Brookes, who was a consistent performer for the Diamonds in the middle order with 4 scores over 20, including an impressive 45 off 36 balls v the Vipers.

At No. 2 in the Batting Rankings Eve Jones scored more runs than Brookes, but the unfortunate truth is that Jones seems to have been left-behind by professionalism – a Strike Rate of just 85 just doesn’t cut it these days, in this age of power hitting.

Of the England prospects, batting-wise Sophia Dunkley is probably the closest – popping up in both the Batting and Bowling Rankings, though she was probably one big score short of booking a ticket to the West Indies for the World T20.

At the top of the Non-International Bowling Rankings is of course Kirstie Gordon, who topped the overall Bowling Rankings with 17 wickets. Gordon’s route to England representation is currently blocked by Sophie Ecclestone and Alex Hartley – a classic case of why we really need professionalism at the next level down, so she can stay in the game full time and develop, rather than slipping behind as the likes of Eve Jones have done.

Batting

Player Played Runs SR
1. Thea Brookes (Diamonds) [21] 9 139 121
2. Eve Jones (Thunder) [24] 9 168 85
3. Ellie Threlkeld (Thunder) [26] 10 138 99
4. Sophia Dunkley (Stars) [32] 11 98 120
5. Georgie Boyce (Thunder) [34] 9 98 88
6. Georgia Adams (Lightning) [36] 11 69 93
7. Paige Scholfield (Vipers) [40] 8 36 129
8. Natalie Brown (Thunder) [42] 5 34 117
9. Maia Bouchier (Vipers) [43] 4 40 93
10. Sophie Luff (Storm) [44] 11 36 97

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate; [X] = Overall Rank

Bowling

Player Played Wickets Economy
1. Kirstie Gordon (Lightning) [1] 11 17 6.05
2. Linsey Smith (Lightning) [8] 11 11 6.40
3. Katie Levick (Diamonds) [9] 9 11 7.00
4. Emma Lamb (Thunder) [11] 10 11 8.06
5. Freya Davies (Storm) [19] 11 8 7.72
6. Claire Nicholas (Storm) [20] 10 7 7.03
7. Fi Morris (Vipers) [23] 7 7 8.01
8. Sophia Dunkley (Stars) [27] 11 6 8.00
9. Maddy Villiers (Stars) [29] 11 5 6.92
10. Danielle Gibson (Storm) [30] 11 5 7.41

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

STATS: KSL 2018 Bowling Rankings

With the KSL teams prioritising big-hitting batsmen in their overseas picks, there’s a bit more room for non-internationals in the Bowling Rankings, compared to the Batting Rankings where no non-internationals made the Top 20.

Top of the tree is Kirstie Gordon, Saviour of the Loughboroughverse, with 17 wickets at an Economy Rate that only just tipped over 6 after Lizelle Lee’s onslaught in the final.

Linsey Smith at No. 8 is another non-international who had good year, after transferring from the Vipers to the Lightning – albeit not quite as spectacular as KSL01 when she topped the rankings; while Emma Lamb spun her way to No. 11, and Freya Davies also sneaked into the Top 20. Davies in particular is probably an outside bet for World T20 selection, depending on the injuries to Tash Farrant and Katie George – though both are officially hopeful of returning to fitness by November.

Amongst the established players, England will obviously be happy with the performance of Sophie Ecclestone at No. 2; but also interested to see Jenny Gunn in at No. 4. Gunn isn’t an automatic pick for England any more, and at 32 she is getting on in years, but she remains a useful squad player, and she’s probably done enough this summer to get on the plane to the West Indies.

Player Played Wickets Economy
1. Kirstie Gordon (Lightning) 11 17 6.05
2. Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder) 10 15 6.41
3. Sophie Devine (Lightning) 11 16 7.22
4. Jenny Gunn (Lightning) 11 14 6.84
5. Dane van Niekerk (Stars) 9 13 6.62
6. Marizanne Kapp (Stars) 11 11 5.66
7. Katherine Brunt (Diamonds) 7 10 5.42
8. Linsey Smith (Lightning) 11 11 6.40
9. Katie Levick (Diamonds) 9 11 7.00
10. Amelia Kerr (Vipers) 10 10 6.50
11. Emma Lamb (Thunder) 10 11 8.06
12. Alice Davidson-Richards (Diamonds) 9 10 7.45
13. Tash Farrant (Vipers) 6 10 7.77
14. Alex Hartley (Thunder) 10 10 7.83
15. Georgia Elwiss (Lightning) 10 9 7.36
16. Nat Sciver (Stars) 11 10 8.23
17. Suzie Bates (Vipers) 10 9 8.18
18. Laura Marsh (Stars) 11 8 7.36
19. Freya Davies (Storm) 11 8 7.72
20. Claire Nicholas (Storm) 10 7 7.03

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

STATS: KSL 2018 Batting Rankings

There are no real surprises in the 2018 Kia Super League Batting Rankings – no non-international players make the Top 20, though a couple were just outside it: Diamonds’ Thea Brookes at No. 21 and Thunder’s Eve Jones at No. 24.

England’s two spring batting debutantes – Alice Davidson-Richards and Bryony Smith – placed at Nos. 25 and 28 respectively, giving Mark Robinson little to think about in terms of World T20 selection; and whilst Sophia Dunkley had a good opening day, making her highest score of 66 against the Vipers, she was hard-pressed for opportunities with the bat thereafter, and those 66 runs ended up being well over half the runs she scored in the entire tournament, though she maintained a good Strike Rate of 120.

The positives for England are that Nat Sciver (No. 3) and Heather Knight (No. 4) both had very good tournaments – especially in the case of Knight actually, who was playing second-fiddle for much of the time to Man Women Person (sorry Michael… which is it??? Ah yes…) Player of the Tournament Smriti Mandhana at No. 1.

England will though be less happy with the performances of their two opening batsmen, Tammy Beaumont and Dani Wyatt. Did the Vipers under-perform because Beaumont and Wyatt under-performed, or vice-versa? A bit of both, maybe?

One player who will have impressed her national selectors is Rachel Haynes at No. 5 – Ashes-winning captain she might be, but she is not guaranteed a spot in the Australian XI – and her 324 runs at a Strike Rate of 128 will have done her case no harm at all.

Lizelle Lee at No. 2 of course is sure of a spot in South Africa’s XI – her runs go without saying, but she also fielded very well, and will probably be secretly relieved that Trisha Chetty has made her peace with the selectors and been brought back into the wicket-keeping role for South Africa, so that Lee can now focus on her batting in the West Indies, as she was able to do here with tip-top results.

Player Played Runs SR
1. Smriti Mandhana (Storm) 10 421 175
2. Lizelle Lee (Stars) 11 352 149
3. Nat Sciver (Stars) 11 362 144
4. Heather Knight (Storm) 11 368 134
5. Rachel Haynes (Lightning) 11 324 128
6. Sophie Devine (Lightning) 11 269 147
7. Beth Mooney (Diamonds) 9 267 138
8. Amy Satterthwaite (Thunder) 10 277 127
9. Nicole Bolton (Thunder) 10 274 120
10. Suzie Bates (Vipers) 10 245 115
11. Rachel Priest (Storm) 11 183 140
12. Tammy Beaumont (Vipers) 7 198 128
13. Harmanpreet Kaur (Thunder) 7 164 152
14. Lauren Winfield (Diamonds) 8 205 120
15. Amy Jones (Lightning) 11 202 120
16. Elyse Villani (Lightning) 11 175 128
17. Sarah Taylor (Stars) 10 177 123
18. Dani Wyatt (Vipers) 9 172 123
19. Sara McGlashan (Vipers) 10 164 123
20. Mignon du Preez (Vipers) 10 174 104

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

KSL: Flash Gordon – Saviour of the Loughboroughverse

It may not have been the dream ending for Loughborough Lightning yesterday at Hove – beaten in the final by a rampant Lizelle Lee – but having finished top of the group stages, with 7 wins from 10, in reflection they really ought to look back on this campaign as a success.

A part of this was the contributions of their international superstars – Rachel Haynes finished the tournament as the 5th highest run-scorer; with Sophie Devine 2nd in the list of wicket-takers. Devine also hit 269 runs in the campaign; and there were solid performances from England’s Amy Jones, with 202 runs, and Jenny Gunn, with 14 wickets.

And then there was Kirstie Gordon.

Hang on… Kirstie Whodon…???

Unless you’ve been paying attention to county cricket, you’ve probably not heard of Kirstie Gordon, but the former Scotland international, who is now pursuing her career in England, finished the season not only as Loughborough Lightning’s leading wicket-taker, but the top stump-botherer in the whole KSL.

The signs were all there of course – she was the leading wicket-taker in county cricket in 2018, taking 35 wickets across both formats for Notts; but the KSL is a significant step-up from the County Championship, and to finish with even a handful of wickets would have been an achievement. To finish, as Gordon did, with 17 wickets at an Economy Rate of just a shade over 6, was outstanding.

As Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss told CRICKETher after the final:

“She is a real find – she has been absolutely brilliant. She stands up in the big pressure moments, and for someone that’s playing in her first season of KSL, that says a lot about her as a person.”

“She is a great character to have around the squad – she is always up and about, always lively, and brings loads of energy.”

“She works really hard [and] she deserves everything she is getting – there will definitely be more to come from her.”

Whether “more” includes one day pulling on an England shirt, only time will tell; but if it does, this season for Loughborough Lightning will be where it really started.

KSL Finals Day – All-Stars Stars Sneak Up The Inside To KSL Glory

Going into the final fortnight of the 2018 Kia Super League, the Surrey Stars had lost more matches than they had won – standing third in the table, with just three wins to four losses, with one game rained-off. In contrast, the Storm and Lightning were dominating the group stages, with 6 wins apiece.

And yet, come Finals Day it is the Stars who have triumphed – winning their last two group matches to qualify for Finals Day in third spot, and then defeating both the Storm and the Lightning to lift the trophy at Hove.

“We were waiting for the game where everything clicked,” said final centurion Lizelle Lee afterwards, “and today it all just came together!”

Lee of course was the difference in the final itself – as losing Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss acknowledged:

“Lizelle played out of her skin – it really was a special knock and someone like that is hard to stop on a good pitch,” Elwiss said.

But over the course of the tournament, different players have stood up for the Stars – particularly Nat Sciver in the semi-final today, who made 72*, without which they likely wouldn’t have made the final. With 252 runs at a Strike Rate of 144, she has moved her game onto a different level this season – scoring runs at a tremendous Strike Rate without seeming to take the kind of risks that others do to maintain that sort of momentum.

With the ball, Marizanne Kapp has taken 11 wickets, but perhaps more importantly in T20 cricket has done so at an Economy Rate of well under 6-an-over, which is pretty remarkable in a tournament where par scores have soared well past 7-an-over.

Sophia Dunkley has also come up with some crucial performances – her 50 against the Vipers on the opening day was in a losing cause, but her 3-18 helped beat the Storm at Cheltenham, and she held her nerve to hit the winning runs in the final group match too. Will it land her in the West Indies in November? Probably not – it would be a huge surprise if Mark Robinson included any uncapped players in the squad – but it will certainly have given him notice that she is knocking on the door for a contract when her uni studies end next year.

The likes of Lee, Sciver, Kapp and Dunkley wrote the headlines then, but we shouldn’t forget the performances of some of the younger players either – Eva Grey, Bryony Smith, Mady Villiers, Grace Gibbs et al all did their bit, and fully deserve their winners medals. They’ve given everything they could over the past months and years to be the best cricketers they can be – they didn’t do it for the fame, and they certainly didn’t do it for the money – but they did it! They are Stars too, and this is their win as much as it is that of the bigger names you’ll read about in the papers tomorrow.