Diamonds bt. Lightning by 17 runs (Report)
In the space of an English summer, the Sri Lankan has gone from Atapat-who to Atapat-woo! After hitting the biggest innings of the World Cup – 178* against Australia – and finishing the tournament with an average of over 50, she is now bringing some really classy batting to the Super League. She is quite a traditional player, and you won’t catch her ramping or reverse sweeping, so she is maybe missing out behind the wicket; but she is making her game work for her so far, and it is hard to argue with the runs she is scoring in KSL (107) or the Strike Rate at which she is scoring them (130).
I’ve been reluctant to call her an “all-rounder” but who has the highest Strike Rate in KSL so far? Suzie Bates? Nat Sciver? Nope – it’s Katherine Brunt, with 77 runs at 197! And it would have been more yesterday, if not for a very dodgy call from Atapattu, who was on 49 at the time and desperate to get to her 50. Brunt then opened the bowling, and took 2-2 in the powerplay. And they were “proper” wickets too – Jones bowled and Perry LBW – not cheap “caught at cow corners”.
Lightning won the toss and put the Diamonds in. With weather around, the potential advantage is that you know exactly what you’ve got to do in a Duckworth-Lewis situation in the second innings. But in a game which had already been shortened by a third, it is a risky move too. With less overs to get through, the team batting first can really go for it – wickets hardly matter – and consequently in the reply, the required run-rate always looks bigger than it perhaps actually is.
Not only that, but just a couple of low-scoring overs early-on can really pile on the psychological pressure as the rate starts to climb, and this is what we saw here: the required rate started at 8.5; but after two overs of Katherine Brunt it was closing-in on 10, even though Davidson-Richards had been hit for 11 in the over in-between. Georgia Elwiss gave it her best shot, hitting 41 off 28 balls; but once Villani was out, there was really no chance – Thea Brookes and Sonia Odedra are good players, but not 10-an-over players, and so it proved with the Lightning ending more than a run-an-over short.