It might have been the top of the table decider, but this was one of the more one-sided games we’ve seen this season.
With the Vipers choosing to bat, the Lighning made a good start as Sonia Odedra only conceded two runs of the first over, but the second over bowled by Beth Langston went for 17, whilst the forth bowled by Dane van Niekerk was almost as expensive, going for 16. By the end of the powerplay the Vipers were well on their way at 57-1.
Suzie Bates, looking much more fluent that she did earlier in the week against the Storm, once again top-scored with 36 off 24 balls; and went on later to take 2-11 with the ball too – if you didn’t have her as an all-rounder in your fantasy team, you need to take a long hard look at your yourself in the mirror tonight!!
One person that no one had in their fantasy team is Linsey Smith. The Berkshire orthodox left-armer was a late injury replacement, and hasn’t so much snatched her chance as smashed it. Today, the Lightning reply had actually been on-track, as Eve Jones bashed her way to a quick-fire 23 – at 4 overs they were 26-0; and with van Niekerk in the form she’s been, you’d have put your money on the Lighning at that stage.
Then Charlotte Edwards threw the ball to Smith. In her first over, she bowled van Niekerk and Sophie Devine; and in her second she added Eve Jones LBW to the list. She didn’t take another wicket, but the opposition were so wary of her by then, she didn’t really need to, ending with figures from 4 overs of 3-16. From that point, the result was never in doubt – Smith’s intervention had basically won the game.
Afterwards, Vipers skipper Charlotte Edwards acknowledged what Smith had brought to her team.
“She stood out for me this summer playing for Berkshire so as soon as we had the injury she was an obvious replacement – she has bowled brilliantly, here at the Ageas especially, and she has taken to it like a duck to water. “
“The double wicket over today really changed the game for us.”
“Linsey just bowls it straight – she doesn’t give it much air – she’s just really accurate and that just shows you in Twenty20 cricket the value of a left arm spinner.”
Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss meanwhile was philosophical looking towards their semi final against the Storm:
“We need to dust ourselves off after today and just say the Vipers outplayed us; but over the five games we’ve played some good cricket, so that’s what we need to concentrate on.”
“We’ve got to go into [the semi-final] positively – it does give us a chance to look at the pitch [and] look at the conditions.”