The Two El(l)yses
Ellyse Perry’s innings today was one of two halves: during the first 10 overs she managed 10 off 21 balls at a strike rate of 48; across the second 10 overs she hit 58 off 32 balls, at a strike rate of 181. As her captain Georgia Elwiss explained after play, “We always know that she’ll start a little bit slower than others… but we also know that she can catch up when she gets in.”
Despite Perry’s late brilliance, it’s worth bearing in mind that her approach relies on being surrounded by team mates who can ensure that the scoreboard continues to tick along even when she herself is finding her feet. Basically, for every Perry you need a Villani or two; and though Perry might take home the plaudits most of the time, it was Elyse Villani’s 39-ball 71 that was probably the more important of the two innings today.
A Dead Rubber?
There was a bit of a feeling around that Stars flopped today partly because they were already through to Finals Day, whereas Lightning’s qualification depended on a win. But I’m not sure they (or any of their fans!) can use that as a “get out clause”. Let’s not forget that Stars also had a chance of automatic qualification for Friday’s final, which they threw away. Not great given that they now have to face last year’s finalists Storm in the semi.
As Syd’s piece on the contribution of non-internationals shows, Surrey Stars have hugely relied on their superstar players this season – before today the non-internationals had faced only 9 overs. It meant that their middle and lower-order was rather exposed when push came to shove; by the time they were 3 wickets down in the 6th over, the match was already halfway to being lost, with Nat Sciver their last real hope of chasing down such a high total. You could tell by the way she slammed her bat on the ground after being bowled that Sciver thought so, too.
Lightning Only Strikes Twice
Reflecting on the season after close of play, Elwiss was fairly philosophical, but she did highlight an important point: “We’ve only just started to play our best cricket. Unfortunately we didn’t get into our stride quickly enough over the tournament, and that’s what’s cost us.” After 3 losses Loughborough finished strongly, with 2 big wins, and while they played brilliantly today, it only makes it more disappointing to think that we won’t be seeing them again as a unit for another 12 months. It shows exactly why it’s such a positive move for the competition to expand into a 10-game contest next season.