Short Thoughts: KSL Lightning v Thunder

First up: what an impressive effort by Loughborough to get a crowd of over 500 to their first KSL game. No, it wasn’t anywhere near the biggest crowd we’ve seen so far, but the Haslegrave ground isn’t one anyone could ever stumble over by chance and it’s pretty clear that the Lightning PR efforts have paid off big-time. Good on them.

Added to that, it was by far the best atmosphere at any of the KSL games which we’ve been at so far. There was music, bunting, people sitting on the boundary, and a real holiday atmosphere – only added to by the pink deckchairs around the boundary! Plus, there was an announcer-come-compere, whose between-overs commentary was evidently designed to make the game accessible to those who might not have seen much cricket before. We admit, we were sceptical about Loughborough being awarded a franchise – not any longer!

Secondly, this was clearly the game of the Super League (so far!) This is everything the competition should be – hard-fought, edge-of-the-seat stuff. A bit of a shock result in the end but that’s no bad thing at this stage of the competition – it just serves to blow it wide open.

In terms of the cricket itself, this was clearly a batsman’s game – as Amy Satterthwaite said speaking to us after close of play, “it was a great wicket”, and the outfield was pristine. However, Lancashire Thunder did nothing today to dispel the idea that they’ve got a very long tail – no one below number 4 got into double figures. Sure, you’ll win some T20s when your top 4 do their stuff, but you’ll lose a whole heap more. It’s got to be a worry for them going forward.

From a Lightning perspective, it was baffling that Georgia Elwiss chose to bring Ellyse Perry back on to bowl the 19th over after she’d just been tonked for 15 runs in the 17th. Actually Lightning had clawed it back somewhat in overs 13-16 with Sonia Odedra particularly doing a good job to only concede 5 runs off her 1 over of the day. So why persist with Perry? She couldn’t find her length at all today. It seemed a bit captaincy-by-reputation rather than captaining based on what is in front of you.

On Lightning’s performance with the bat, the key point to stress is that Paige Scholfield and Thea Brookes made the game into a game. Lightning were 88-7 when they came together and they could easily have holed out for 10 or 15 – in which case we’d be talking about a total wipeout by Thunder. It’s pretty much what Yorkshire Diamonds did on Saturday – by the time they were 6 wickets down they looked like they’d given up; and it turned into a walkover. Players might often talk in platitudes in post-match press conferences, but when Scholfield said today: ““We always go into batting with a positive mindset; the game’s never over until the last ball” – for once, it sounded like the player really meant it!

It’s a point made all the more impressive by the fact that Scholfield admitted after close of play that her first thought on walking out to bat in front of the 500-strong crowd was: “I’m so nervous!” Brookes said that while she was feeling “pretty devastated”, “getting within 7 runs of winning in the final over was massive…I’m over the moon for what [Paige and I] have come in and done for the team.”

One final point – it’s the small things that tell you something about a person, and it didn’t go unnoticed by us that Mark Robinson made a particular point of leaving the ECB shindig taking place in the Performance Centre after the match ended to come over and shake hands and commiserate with Scholfield and Brookes. A really lovely gesture.

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3 thoughts on “Short Thoughts: KSL Lightning v Thunder

  1. This was a terrific match which I’m sure would have been great to watch. I presume the stumps were purple/pink in keeping with the team colour-coordination? It’s one of those little touches which is a really small thing, but just adds that extra bit of character and uniqueness to the tournament.

    I’m certainly looking forward to my visit on Friday to see the Storm play. I’m impressed with quite a few of the players on both sides here. Emma Lamb has made a good start for Thunder and is, for me, another player like Georgia Adams, who is right on the verge of England performance selection.

    It was an excellent chase from Lightning in the end given that their 3 big overseas allrounders scored 4 runs between them. That sort of thing surely won’t happen often! These 150 plus chases are always tough. Nice cameo from Amy Jones, and Thea Brookes with her great innings did not surprise me as she’s produced some good performances for her county with the bat recently. She’s very talented. Let’s not forget she can bowl a bit, too. More of a surprise for me was Scholfield doing so well but her innings was probably even better, and only 20 years old – I didn’t realise that.

    On the other side of the coin a few players have not stepped up yet – DVN with the bat for Lightning, and Wyatt, who should be one of Thunder’s best players, is languishing down the order again and has not contributed much yet either with bat or ball. She’s not having the same good season like she had for Melbourne Renegades in WBBL01.

    Interesting factoids: This was the first result which was not a bonus point win, and it will also mean that after tomorrow’s match with Surrey Stars taking on Yorks Diamonds, there will only be one side without a victory (unless we get a tie in which case it will be fantastic anyway). However the losing side will be in with a very big challenge to qualify in the top three spots, possibly needing 3 wins from 3 or 2 bonus point wins from 3.

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  2. It may be T20 heresy but I am going to say it anyway! The match between the West and Lancashire at Taunton may have been low scoring but it was a fine game of cricket! I have mentioned elsewhere that I am trying to decide if the West’s performance that day was the finest fielding display I have ever seen from any team in the 20+ years I have watched women’s cricket. I have no idea who coaches them in that department but he needs a raise and a promotion… And all that didn’t mean we were deprived of a few fine shots and fiery bowling. It’s not a game I’ll forget in a hurry. Great to have the runs at Loughborough, and to see two non-internationals getting so many of them – this is what this tournament really needs if it is to provide the development we have heard so much about, but low scoring games can have their attractions and exciting finishes too.

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  3. Good to see a game go down to the wire with so many runs scored. These are the sort of games that can showcase how talented these girls are and it’s why we all want to see the super league on TV. Whilst I agree Don that low scoring games can be very entertaining, we are now in an era of bigger and bigger scores in the men’s game and I think that games like this one will only help to attract new fans. It’s just a shame that only the people at the ground could get to see it. On a final note good to see the non superstars putting up a performance. I remember Scholfield being talked up as a big hitter a couple of years ago but she hasn’t really kicked on since then, so good to see her getting back into the spotlight.

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