Short Thoughts: KSL Vipers v Diamonds

Contrary to what seems to be becoming popular opinion, we’re not convinced there’s anything wrong with a low-scoring pitch in women’s T20 cricket – they can generate just as exciting a game as the high-scoring thriller we saw yesterday at Bristol. If this wasn’t that – and no one could really call today a “thriller” – it wasn’t the pitch’s fault; but the fact that Diamonds proved what we all suspected pre-tournament – they’ve got a very long tail.

It doesn’t help that Diamonds’ two overseas batsmen – Alex Blackwell and Beth Mooney – have almost totally failed with the bat, with scores of 3, 23 and 6, and 0, 9 and 17 respectively. Given that Ellyse Perry has also been having problems over at Lightning – she looked completely un-Perry-like when we saw her last Wednesday – is there something wider going on, in terms of Australian players who have flown over to England in the middle of their off-season being unable to recalibrate themselves quickly enough?

Meanwhile Suzie Bates – who’s been in good form with bat and ball – has been over here adjusting to English conditions with Kent for the last couple of months. This competition is very short, and having overseas players who’ve already been playing county cricket seems to have been a bigger advantage than we’d perhaps anticipated.

Alongside Bates, it was Arran Brindle who dug the Vipers out of the not-insubstantial hole they had thrown themselves into at 19-4 in the 7th over, steadying the ship from the instant she arrived at the crease – exactly the role she played so successfully for England in the last few years of her career. It’s patently obvious that she’s still a class above – and exactly what England have been missing since her retirement in February 2014. Sadly, we probably won’t be seeing her in an international shirt again – she gave a pretty unequivocal “no” when I asked her about the possibility of a comeback after close of play – but that’s one reason why it’s so exciting to see her back out there in this competition, playing against the world’s best.

But there were two real stars of today – and Linsey Smith deserves all the plaudits that we hope are coming her way. A week ago when we saw her at Loughborough she was running a how-fast-can-you-bowl sideshow – now she’s running the entire show, with the best bowling figures (4-10) in the competition to date. When she came into the attack at 32-2, the game was still just about in Yorkshire’s grasp; it was Smith who took it away from them with some highly intelligent bowling: a wicket-maiden first-up, followed by removing the dangerous Blackwell in her third over with a brilliant head-high reflex catch that otherwise would have gone crashing to the boundary. Perhaps she might even get her own Vipers shirt now!

Lastly, a mention to Carla Rudd – 2 stumpings today, and impeccable work with the gloves. It obviously helps that she’s used to keeping to bowlers like Smith and Fi Morris at Berkshire, but she’s barely put a foot wrong in this competition, and if you’re looking at the reasons why the Vipers have become the first team to qualify for Finals Day, she’s got to be a factor.

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5 thoughts on “Short Thoughts: KSL Vipers v Diamonds

  1. Suzie Bates deserves a mention, continuing her fine form with both bat and ball. She’s a class above.

    My big question though, is who is Linsey Smith? No picture on ESPN and she does not appear in the original Vipers squad, nor is she selectable in the fantasy game. Indeed the Vipers squad selections must have left a few heads being scratched, with early strong performers Georgia Adams and Katie George not even featuring in this game. And when Edwards finally comes back after missing the first 2 batting innings, she gets a first baller.

    It would seem Vipers don’t even need their supposedly best players to be the first team through, and looking odds on for top spot and a route straight to the final.

    Is Linsey Smith a lot better than anyone thought, a player who rises to the occasion, incredibly lucky, or were Diamonds just.. well pretty poor with the bat today? Or a combination of any or all of the above, or something else? Robinson must have noticed Smith’s figures, and she is a bit of a rare commodity as a left handed bowler/batter. Does she have an England future?

    I guess I am suggesting you tell us a bit more about her (please)…

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    • Linsey Smith was called up as cover for Fi Morris and kept her place over Katie George you’d think because of the pitch, which you’d have to say proved a good shout. Probably a bit lucky in that she plays for Berkshire so Nick Denning knows her – if he was ex-Kent we’d possibly be now talking about Megan Belt instead. But you can’t argue with the outcome!!

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    • Also, Georgia Adams was sitting out yesterday injured – some kind of hand problem sustained while trying to take a catch during practice, I believe.

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  2. As a Kiwi, I’m pleased to see the New Zealand players doing so well – the West indies players, arriving off the back of their regional tournament, seem to be doing well too.

    Conversely, the Australians and (until the most recent games) South Africans have been disappointing so far.

    Suzie Bates has been playing in the UK for a couple of months – but which of the other imports have been? I’m not sure any of the other NZers have.

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    • Priest has been over playing for Berkshire and McGlashan for Sussex, so it’s not just Bates. The exception to the general rule seems to be Sophie Devine, who had only been here for about a week when she hit 52 in the first game!

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