KSL: Vipers v Diamonds – Diamonds’ Faith In Thea Brookes Shows KSL Bridging The Gap

Yorkshire Diamonds may have fallen short today in their match against Southern Vipers, but they will take plenty of comfort from the performance of Thea Brookes.

Promoted up the order to number 4 in the absence of Lauren Winfield with (would you believe it!) food poisoning, Brookes entered the fray today with her side 15-2 and in danger of an embarrassing collapse.

But Brookes appeared unfazed, racking up 45 off 36 balls at a strike rate of 125.00, in an innings that included 7 boundaries.

“I’m so proud of the fact that the coaches can trust me to go up the order,” she reflected after the match. “It allows me to play with freedom, and that for me is a win in itself. I’m thrilled to have that opportunity.”

The highlight of her innings was a six sent back over the head of Suzie Bates to bring up 50 for the Diamonds, in an over that was punished for 13 runs and sent Vipers’ captain and senior bowler Bates out of the attack until the 18th over.

It was an impressive performance from a player who has generally hit big lower down the order in KSL, often when the result was already a foregone conclusion, but before today had never batted in the top 4 in the tournament.

“I went to the coaches and said: ‘I’m more than happy to come up the order slightly, to try and relieve a bit of pressure off the internationals,” Brookes said. “If they can come in with runs on the board it’s a bit different than if we’re losing a couple of quick wickets early.” Tactically, her promotion made absolute sense: before today in KSL 2018 Brookes had a strike rate of 164.77, higher than almost all her teammates.

Brookes was also complimentary of Katherine Brunt’s captaincy, after she stepped into the breach with Winfield out of the reckoning. Brookes had not yet bowled an over in KSL 2018 when Brunt today chose to entrust her with the 17th, at a crucial juncture in the Vipers innings.

“I thanked her in the changing rooms after,” Brookes said. “Just thanked her for the trust. It’s like having a pat on the back saying, ‘we believe in you mate, you can do this, have the ball and have a go’. It’s belief in my ability. It was so nice.”

That trust was repaid handsomely when Brookes conceded just 4 runs from her over and also picked up the key wicket of Mignon du Preez, bowling her round her legs as Vipers failed to make hay, from that over at least.

Will Brookes retain her spot at number 4 when Winfield returns to the fray? Brookes certainly hopes so: “If I can bat at 4 every game, happy days!” she said.

And from a Diamonds perspective, it also makes sense. Because in a tournament where scores above 160 are becoming the norm, it is players who can bat like Thea Brookes that are the future.

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4 thoughts on “KSL: Vipers v Diamonds – Diamonds’ Faith In Thea Brookes Shows KSL Bridging The Gap

  1. Great KSL game today I thought. To be honest it really eclipsed the later men’s match, despite that featuring a strong Somerset side continuing to do well. The best Innings of the day were Beaumont and Brookes! It was a very good attendance of over 4000 today and this appeared to be one of those turning points in the women’s game.

    Tammy was as brilliant as ever, her touch outclassing any other player and making it look easy to bat on that pitch. And I know I’ve said it before, but Thea Brookes does not at all look out of place amongst the big names, batting in the top order. When she hits the ball it stays hit. It’s not as if she’s getting lucky and playing lots of false shots either. And as you say she can turn her arm over too.

    I thought Diamonds batted quite well after their 2 overseas top order players got out, and kept in the game until quite late on. They may even have been favourites up to the 17th over, whilst Brunt and Kimmince were still in. But a late flurry of wickets which gave Bates figures of 4-26 as the lower order collapsed, saw Vipers home by 16 runs.

    Vipers were just a little more disciplined today, shown by the much lower number of extras they conceded. Diamonds have been a nearly side in a few matches, just getting on the wrong side of close results. Must be frustrating for them because they’re not a bad team and have improved on previous years.

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  2. It’s a little ironic that this particular innings is held up (with justification) as showing that the gap is being bridged when Thea Brookes would appear to have effectively been discarded as an England prospect.

    Over the course of the three seasons so far, she has been one of the most consistent non-international players in KSL.

    As per stats tweeted by Hypocaust yesterday…

    (a) She has the third highest strike rate in the competition history (players who have faced 100+ balls), behind only Mandhana and Villani

    (b) She is one of only four players to have scored quicker than the tournament average strike rate in each of the three seasons – the others being Lizelle Lee, Nat Sciver and Lauren Winfield. Fairly decent company to be keeping…

    (c) She hits a six every 14.6 balls, bettered only by Mandhana, Lee and Sophie Devine of players who have faced a significant number of balls.

    In T20 terms, what’s not to like?

    She has played several notable innings, despite usually coming in at no. 6 or lower. It could be argued that most of those have been in chases where her team is already fighting a lost cause, needing double-figures per over, and the choice has been tee-off or… well, just tee-off, basically. In that situation she has often had licence to play with freedom, eg. Lightning v Thunder in 2016, in partnership with Paige Scholfield. That does tend to lend itself to an uncluttered mind!

    Perhaps yesterday was a bit different. 15 for 2 chasing 160 is not a great position to be in, but neither is it a forlorn hope so early in the innings. There was more of an opportunity to build, and she showed enough intelligence and clear-mindedness to suggest she can cope with that sort of scenario, without getting into a quandry about whether to “stick or twist”.

    One wonders why – along with a few others – she was “ditched” from the Academy? Perhaps there are things we will never know (and have no right to know) but on cricketing grounds it’s hard to see what she doesn’t have that one or two more favoured players do, apart from perhaps a few more years on her “clock”. Maybe it was felt that she was one of a group of players around their mid-20s who had their chance and the priority now is to focus on the 19-20 year olds who can be the backbone of the England team for the next 10 years?

    I’m biased. I’m a Worcestershire supporter, and she is a Worcestershire product, even though she moved to Warwickshire this season. All the same, I feel England could do worse than have her on standby for the WWT20. In the most explosive form of the game, I think she could do a job if called upon.

    It won’t happen, of course. It’s too late for “left-field” picks now, and I don’t think that’s Mark Robinson’s modus operandi anyway. I can’t help feeling that – for whatever reason – she’s one that got away…

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  3. Looking at the other end of the table, and stating the blindingly obvious, if LL get 5 pts from their match against SS on the 9th, they are assured of a Finals Day spot.

    If LL win (whether 4pts or 5pts) against SS, then WS would qualify with a 5pt win over LT.

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