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.
Another one of those articles I have to take issue with I’m afraid. Just what is it that you have against Perry – she’s done brilliantly these last few matches and has been Lightning’s standout player. She deserves the plaudits in my view. Even as an Aussie she is one of my favourite players.
If anything the way Perry played was a microcosm of Lightning’s KSL, with a slow start then going onto great things at the end (well, beating Stars but just falling short of qualification anyway). It’s not only Perry but plenty of other players who have the same issue, but worse.
I also think you’re being unfair to Stars, I watched them 3 times and in all of them they were consistently excellent in the field, and good enough with the bat – I think this was just a bad day at the office. Which, after 4 good ones, one might allow for anyway. They aren’t one of the more experienced sides, after all.
That being said Stars will have to improve against Storm on Friday afternoon, that could be a very good and very close match. I think Vipers like being through to the final and watching on as the others battle out the semi. Whatever happens, you have to give Vipers a good chance because of their experience. Really looking forward to Friday now!
I do agree that the extended format should help solve a few problems though, such as the odd number of home/away matches, over-reliance on internationals and giving a better chance for the best overall side (and squad!) to win – with it being more of a marathon and less of a sprint.
Think that’s a bit harsh James. Of course I don’t have anything against Perry! Surely by now it pretty much goes without saying that she’s a brilliant player (notice I did use the word “brilliance” to describe her innings – I really wasn’t being critical about it – just stating the facts re. strike rate). I was simply making the point that her approach relies on others around her being able to score at a very high rate while she’s taking her time, which isn’t ideal in T20.