The Diamonds have tried a number of different opening bowling combinations this season, but it wasn’t until their match against Surrey Stars on Tuesday that Yorkshire’s “born and bred” leg-spinner Katie Levick was handed the ball up-top – and she came up with a match-winning performance at Guildford to justify the coach’s confidence in her.
“I got the nod this morning – ‘we want you to open the bowling’ – I’ve not done that yet so far this tournament,” Levick said afterwards.
Levick bowled the first and third overs, conceding 8 runs and taking the wickets of Bryony Smith (bowled) and Sarah Taylor (caught behind by Alyssa Healy) to put the Stars on the back foot early.
She then returned for two more overs in the middle period to finish with miserly figures of 4 overs, 2-13 – an Economy Rate of 3.25 in a match where no one else clocked below 4, with even the great Marizanne Kapp only managing 4.5.
“It was just not overthinking it,” Levick said of her performance. “It sounds so stupid, but just bowling at the stumps – that’s what we’ve not done for the last however many games.”
The bowlers had a little help from a pitch that, for once, did the batsmen no favours: “Usually they’re roads for the batters, but it was actually nice that we had a bit of something in the pitch!”
With a very short boundary to one side, over which Dane van Niekerk smashed one 6 that cleared the 20-foot fence completely, ending up in the car park of the National Trust property next door, bowler’s lines were more important than ever.
“All the chat before the game was about that ridiculously tiny boundary, but actually I don’t think it came into play that much because the bowlers did their jobs – we just bowled to the plan,” Levick said.
With the Stars finishing on 121, there was still a job to do for the Diamonds’ batsmen… and they made hard work of it – only passing the target off the penultimate ball, after losing 2 wickets in the final over.
That Yorkshire got there was mainly due to Indian overseas Jemimah Rodrigues, who has been growing in confidence as the tournament has progressed. After making 50 in a losing cause against the Lightning at the weekend, Rodrigues kept her cool to score 42* and hit the winning runs with a 4 driven over extra cover.
“We were saying how ridiculously clever she is for 18,” said Levick of Rodrigues. “Such a brilliant cricket brain!”
“She took a bit of pressure off herself getting that 50 in the last game – knowing she can do it in England – and she’s batted brilliantly today.”
The win means Yorkshire Diamonds still have an outside chance of making Finals Day.
“Hopefully today will be the turning point – but it’s stick or bust now,” Levick concluded. “From this point on it’s essentially knock-outs – lose a game and pretty much we rule ourselves out – but we’re not giving up hope!”