KSL: Stars v Thunder – Harmanpreet Keeps Her Cool

In a dramatic match which went down to the penultimate ball, Lancashire Thunder came out on top thanks to the cool head of Harmanpreet Kaur, making her debut 3 games into the KSL campaign after bureaucratic issues delayed her arrival.

Off strike with 10 required from 5 balls, Harmanpreet clearly decided that the wicket of Ellie Threlkeld was a sacrifice she was willing to make – running a single which looked suicidal even before Threlkeld slipped. The Lancashire keeper’s face looked like… well… thunder as she walked back to the dugout, but it was ultimately justified as the Indian T20 captain hit a huge 6 to win the match with a ball to spare.

“I had that belief if I got two boundaries we would be able to win the game,” Harmanpreet said afterwards. “The person I like to take responsibility is me, and I’m really happy today that whatever expectations our team had on me, I did that.”

“There were some visa issues going on – there was a strike, so I wasn’t able to get my passport as soon as possible; but I’m really happy to join the team now and happy my team is doing well.”

From a Surrey perspective it was a disappointing afternoon, after a massive innings of 95* from Nat Sciver had put them in a match-winning position at the break. But the home crowd of over 2,000 – many likely tempted by the opportunity to come to just the first match of this double-header for as little as £1 for kids – still got to see an exciting game of cricket in a brilliant atmosphere; and full credit to Surrey for making that happen on a mid-week afternoon, which probably isn’t the ideal time to get bums on seats.

The result puts the Thunder firmly in the top half of the table, defying many expectations – including ours! With the much-fancied Vipers going down to another defeat, this time at the hands of the Storm, the table is perhaps starting to take shape, and on this form you’d now be mad to bet against the Thunder rolling on to Finals Day.

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20 thoughts on “KSL: Stars v Thunder – Harmanpreet Keeps Her Cool

  1. Are Surrey Stars adopting an approach of trying to give their non-internationals a proper game, even if it means sacrificing victories? How else do you explain Gibbs bowling near the end and leaving overs unbowled from van Niekerk, and especially Kapp who bowled 2 overs for 3 at the start and never came back?

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    • I’d assumed Kapp was injured & unable to bowl. It seems to happen sometimes, she bowls an over or two then can’t continue. It happened once when she played for SA in the T20 tri-series.

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  2. I don’t think anyone was expecting this from the Thunder. Maybe it’s the spin heavy approach paying off especially considering how dry the pitches must be.

    What is going on with the Vipers though? The lack of form of Bates and Wyatt really seems to be costing them dearly. Potentially losing Tammy Beaumont could make things worse. You never know with concussions, they can even be career enders in a worse case scenario.

    Thinking about England this winter, should we be worried about the form of Dani Wyatt? She has a great deal of credit in the bank from the winter but her lack of runs is a concern especially with so many of the England players having made at least one score so far.

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    • Hi Paul, I wouldn’t worry about Wyatt’s perceived lack of form for a few reasons.

      *Form doesn’t mean as much in T20, nor to Wyatt herself either. T20 is fickle, and Wyatt tends to get both low and high scores out of nowhere anyway.

      *Wyatt generally plays better overseas than she does in England. Both T20 tons have come abroad, and her WBBL performances have far exceeded those in KSL.

      *Wyatt’s stats in KSL have not been that impressive in any season yet. The second year was much better than the first. This year she’s close to that same sort of level again.

      KSL01: 2(7), 7(10), 29(22), 0(1), 1(4) = 39(44) / 5 innings
      KSL02: DNB, 21(19), 0(2), 46(29), 4(9), 21(15) = 92(74) / 5 innings
      KSL03 to date: 6(9), 7(11), 39(29), 5(7) = 57(56) / 4 innings

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  3. What a turnaround this last week has been for the Thunder. From a side that could hardly buy a win and scored plenty of sub-100 totals over the past 2 years, they’re suddenly the league’s form side and looking really strong, with a capable batting order and miserly yet wicket-taking bowling line-up. The players have certainly stepped up to turn it round, but I think a lot of the credit has to go to new coach Alex Blackwell. She has done brilliantly to get the confidence up, and the team just look like they know exactly what they’re doing, have good plans and are enjoying their cricket right now. I’m not sure how Kaur’s tactic of putting it all on herself, demanding strike and shouting at her team-mates, which might work with India, will function in the Thunder team. She’s certainly passionate, but it could create some internal tensions in the short-term. These will of course, evaporate easily enough if the winning run continues.

    Bolton was brilliant today, and Emma Lamb’s impressive form with the ball continues. Will she get “found out” eventually? Well, it hasn’t happened yet. Actually Bolton reminds a bit of Sciver with how she bats, although a mirror image, always looking to get on the back foot and almost over-hit everything, throwing the kitchen sink at anything short. Nat was superb today as well, bristling with power shots and all canny bowling – although no other Surrey players really stood up to help her much (although DvN was OK).

    The worrying form for Vipers continues as they were absolutely “marmalised” by a rampant Western Storm. They’ve not been defeated this heavily before. Vipers are seriously missing Beaumont and need to put together a run to make sure they get in those top 3 spots. First place might already have gone.

    Lightning’s impressive start also continued, with them recording a comfortable victory over Diamonds. A decent Lightning total-by-committee (143-6) was followed by Diamonds struggling to score barely 2/3 of those runs, with Lightning’s collection of young spinners performing well again. Amongst the Diamonds’ ranks, I’m impressed by Thea Brookes. Her strike rate is pretty special (30 runs at over 150 SR) and of the 4 match sixes, she hit 3 of them. Maybe she should bat higher up than 7!

    Nearly halfway through the league stage and there’s already a 6-point gap (i.e. a gap that can’t be closed with one result) between 3rd (Thunder) and 4th (Stars). I have to say, a top 3 of Vipers-Stars-Storm like last year is now looking pretty unlikely – although there’s a way to go yet, it’s a lot different than some of us predicted.

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    • Another fan of Thea Brookes here, James – although I will declare an interest, with her being a Worcs girl, albeit now plying her ‘trade’ for Warwickshire (pantomime booooo!)

      She’s performed well at times. Her partnership with Paige Scholfield v Thunder in KSL1 still gets mentioned, and she also had a cameo at the end of Lightning’s innings in the semi final that year (10 off 4 balls, or similar?)

      Last year in a televised game at Derby she got a decent score with a couple of 6s in a forlorn chase, and she did similar for Diamonds v Thunder the other day.

      Batting 7 or 8 is thankless in T20. If you get time at the crease it’s invariably because your team is in a hole. Those occasions apart, you’re usually expected to walk in and tee off with only a few balls left.

      On the other hand, the counter argument could be that she’s mostly performed in chases when the game has already gone, when the only option is to give it a slog in the safe knowledge that victory would see you labelled a hero, whilst defeat will see fingers pointed at those higher up the batting order for not doing their jobs.

      With Diamonds struggling, however, moving her up the order is probably a gamble worth taking.

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  4. Lightning usually follows Thunder and it is roughly being proved correct in the competition. It is good to see the confidence oozing from both sides, the young, non-international guns of both teams providing great performances. The Vipers look decidedly down in the dumps, sporadic individual performances will not win games or build up points. Stars can come back, but will need galvanising. As Paul mentioned above, some of the younger players are putting pressure on the senior England players providing Mr Robinson with interesting selection challenges for Windies.
    Spare a thought for young Eva Gray, 17, at Oval, gets a dolly but drops it. A tough baptism but hopefully she can bounce back with her future opportunities.

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  5. I was party to the social media discussion Syd refers to on the subject of fielding, having listened to the Stars/Thunder match on TMS, and Charles Dagnall’s comments in particular.

    I think it’s worth a little further explanation for those who weren’t aware of it at the time.

    Dagnall (someone I tend to regard as generally very supportive in promoting and broadcasting women’s cricket) was borderline scathing about the standard of fielding this summer, both in the international series and the KSL thus far. He felt that standards have “regressed” and that misfields and drops were detracting from some of the excellent batting and bowling. It was a general comment, but Gray’s drop was, for want of a better phrase” the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Henry Moeran interjected some balance (youngster, not used to spotlight, big ground, etc) but Dagnall stuck to his guns. With Gray specifically in mind he referred to professionals being expected to take such catches, and needing to get back and do some more practice.

    On this point, Raf contended in our subsequent debate (quite fairly) that Dagnall was out of order. Gray isn’t “professional”, far from it, and to expect “professional standards” is unfair. That’s probably right, but…

    On the wider point I think Dagnall is right. Batting and bowling are improving across the board, and not just amongst the “professional” ranks. But my impression based on live games and TV is that fielding HAS regressed in recent seasons.

    I’m not sure that amateur status, and with it lack of game time and opportunities for practice/training, is a valid excuse. However, at the same time I don’t think it’s fair to single out any one incident – be it Gray’s drop, or Jenny Gunn’s in the WWC Final – and hold it up for scrutiny. Every player who ever played has shelled a howler at some time or other. It happens. We are all human, and all have our imperfect moments.

    But the wider pattern seems to me to show that there are far too many balls getting through the inner ring that shouldn’t, too many fours not being saved that should, too many catches going down that ought to be taken. These things will always happen from time to time but they are happening too often, and not just among younger, less experienced players.

    I will defend women’s cricket, and frequently do, when it is unfairly criticised, but poor fielding is the thing I find hardest to defend.

    Fair, or not? Happy to be shouted down!

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    • Had this debate before with you Richard. I can see where you’re coming from. But at the end of the day, this is what we get and I’m not convinced it’s regressed overall. Not improved maybe, but who’s to say this isn’t the maximum level achievable (given game-to-game variability in performances). I think anything we’ve seen that was better was just an especially good performance, and this sort of thing is more the norm. Maybe all professionalism will do is increase the ratio of good performances (few mistakes) to average ones (more mistakes).

      Ridiculous that Gray’s getting flak for one poor bit of fielding. In the later Surrey/Glamorgan match, Graham Wagg had 2 comical bits of fielding in quick succession that were just as bad if not worse. Some people on social media just take any opportunity to make people feel bad.

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      • I think it’s a valid point that women are judged by harsher criteria than men at times. A simplistic example – a poor ball hit for four is more likely to be seen as great batting in a men’s game, and bad bowling in a women’s game. Women sometimes have to be better than men to be seen as “almost as good”. (Hope that makes sense!)

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      • I’d also add that I can’t see any “abuse” of Eva Gray on SM. She’s unfortunate that it was her error. It could have been anybody. As I say, every player has come cropper at some stage.

        Perhaps I’m wrong about standards slipping, but I’ve felt it for a season or two now, and clearly in view of Dagnall’s comments I’m not on my own. He watches a lot more women’s matches than I do, too.

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