In their previous KSL game, against the Diamonds, Southern Vipers fell agonisingly short in their run chase, reaching 163-9 after Diamonds had racked up 175-5. It was the highest ever aggregate score in a KSL match, but it was the Vipers who were on the wrong end of the result.
Today, with Loughborough Lightning needing 11 runs off the final over and Suzie Bates tasked with bowling it, you’d probably have had your money on Vipers to defend their substantial 172-run total. Nonetheless it was Lightning who triumphed, Elyse Villani’s six finishing things off with two balls to spare.
With just 1 win in their 6 opening matches, and Finals Day now all but out of reach*, some have questioned whether something has “gone wrong” for Vipers this season, and asked when they might start putting in the performances that would enable them to turn things around. In actuality, this is a side who have now put in two consecutive match-winning performances, but haven’t won either contest. T20 is a format of the game that can hang on the way the cards fall: and sometimes the luck just doesn’t go your way.
Today, after Sara McGlashan and Arran Brindle’s 71-run partnership ensured a strong finish to their innings, it definitely felt at the halfway stage that Vipers had their fangs into their opponents. Then, after Lightning had motored away to reach 100 in the 11th over with only 2 wickets down, it felt again that things had swung back in Vipers’ favour – Brindle making the crucial breakthrough to have the in-form batsman Rachael Haynes caught at point, just after reaching her half century.
But somebody at Vipers has clearly offended the cricketing gods. Two balls after the Haynes wicket Villani (who went on to reach 61*) was inches away from being run out; but survived by the skin of her teeth. Then, coming back to bowl her next over, Brindle was forced to leave the field one ball in after Georgia Elwiss pelted the ball straight back through her hands – Brindle dislocating a finger in her attempt to take the return catch. Finally, with Fi Morris beginning the following over, Tash Farrant dived to save a boundary at deep backward square and couldn’t get back up again. She eventually left the pitch with the help of medical staff, appearing to have dislocated her shoulder.
With 2 sub fielders brought on, Vipers were still in with a chance, especially while Lightning proceeded to throw away several more wickets – Elwiss run out; Georgia Adams and Jenny Gunn holing out and caught in the deep when singles would have sufficed – but Villani, fortunately for her team, kept a cool head.
And so Lightning continue what looks to be their inevitable charge towards Finals Day, in a performance that has surprised everyone. But maybe luck has played a role there as well? It was only two months ago that we found out that Ellyse Perry had dropped out of this year’s KSL. Her very-last-minute replacement? None other than the heroine of the hour, Elyse Villani…
*We think it is still mathematically possible for Vipers to reach Finals Day, but it would rely on several matches being rained off and all other results going their way.
As we all know luck (or bad luck) plays a huge part in cricket. However, it is somewhat refreshing to the likes of Loughborough and Lancashire pushing for the top of the table, and maybe finals day? No one wishes ill of the Vipers and we wish those involved with injury a swift recovery. The Loughborough “wobble” may be partially due to them being in the unfamiliar position of table toppers! This will require the experienced professional players to stabilise and drive on their younger team members. A somewhat new challenge for all involved!
Sorry to hear about the potentially serious injuries suffered by Vipers today. Regardless of which team you support no-one likes to see players hurt. I think Vipers have been a bit unlucky. In the last 2 matches, they’ve played well and could have won both.
Vipers are getting into the unlucky habit of losing these close games. Having scored a decent 172 I feel they should really have defended it, especially considering Devine was out cheaply early on. But they let Haynes and Villani both get 50s and Amy Jones a fast 31. Kerr didn’t have the best game, going wicketless at 9 an over and getting a first-baller. And Bates is finding it tough at the moment too.
Can’t help but think that Vipers have let it slip though, and left the door open for Stars (or Diamonds) to have a late charge at nicking Thunder’s 3rd place slot. Stars have to play a (probably already qualified) Lightning and Storm at home, and go away to Diamonds. The crucial match for this stand-off may be Vipers-Stars, which is at Hove, and so more a neutral venue really.
If Stars find form it’s not impossible that they could challenge. And I say that because Thunder’s run in is not the easiest. They have to play the top two, Storm and Lightning again as well. Tuesday’s crunch encounter (Thunder-Stars at OT) is now looking instrumental as to which of those sides is most likely to progress.
If tomorrow’s game (Diamonds-Storm) goes the way of Storm, they’re pretty much through along with Lightning, and Diamonds will surely be consigned to one of the lower positions. The next 2 matches could well set the tone for the final run-in.
Luck plays a huge part in sport and always has done. Vipers aren’t a popular team though, their win at all cost team selection of players who can’t play for England has been surely against the ethos of the competition.
Like in the other posts I wish the injured girls speedy recoveries.
The non performances of Bates who in the previous 2 years was hugely influential is more the reason the Vipers are struggling than luck Raff.
When they have quality players like they do they shouldn’t be losing like this. Losing 4 on the bounce and with an extra overseas player is nothing to do with bad luck.
“*We think it is still mathematically possible for Vipers to reach Finals Day, but it would rely on several matches being rained off and all other results going their way.” – it is mathematically possible for Vipers to finish 1st so definitely mathematically possible for Vipers to reach Finals Day – and it doesn’t need rain.
The one way they can finish 1st is the following sequence of results (with Vipers getting 5 pts for a win and all other teams only 4pts for their wins) :
YD beats WS, LT loses to SS, SV beats YD, SS beats LL, WS loses to LT, LL loses to LT, WS loses to SV, YD beats SS or SS beats YD (doesn’t matter), LT loses to YD, SV beats SS, LL loses to WS, SV beats LT, SS beats WS, YD beats LL
This leaves Vipers on 24pts, LL and WS on 23pts, LT on 21pts and either (a) YD on 22 & SS on 19 or (b) YD on 18 and SS on 23.
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“Luck” plays a part in events in all sorts of ways, good and bad. Had any or all of these incidents and circumstances fallen Vipers’ way instead of against them they may still have lost these two matches. “Sliding Doors” may not have been the best film ever made but it did tell us that we never know how things may have turned out had the dice rolled differently.
Yes, sympathy for Vipers over the injuries to Brindle and Farrant (and Beaumont’s concussion plus George’s brief absence earlier in the tournament as well), and best wishes to both. I believe Farrant had already bowled her full allocation, though, so perhaps the impact was not as great as it might have been.
I would argue that far from producing “two consecutive match-winning performances”, Vipers have done “half a job” in both instances, since both games were lost. Batting-wise, their totals look decent (although any score batting second has to be seen in the context of the total being chased), but both times their bowlers have conceded more. I’m not sure their coaching staff would see that as a “ball 1 to ball 240” match-winning performance, with apologies for stating the bleedin’ obvious.
Whether there is a deeper malaise, I couldn’t say, except that a team which has won once, and reached the final both times previously isn’t used to losing. If winning can be a habit, so can losing. It can affect form, confidence, trust in one another (albeit subconsciously rather than overt), disharmony, clarity of thought and so on. Once things – particularly if it wasn’t expected – it can be hard to arrest that.
And on top of that, it’s funny how often “luck” deserts a losing team…
“Sliding Doors” may not have been the best film ever made…
Sorry Richard but I have to pick you up on this – it *is* the best film ever made, and anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong; end of!
I like it, but it’s not “The Sting”, or “Some Like it Hot”…
(Oh, what have we started…?)