Surrey Stars beat Thunder by 55 runs at Emirates Old Trafford
Half centuries for Lizelle Lee and Sarah Taylor set Surrey Stars on their way to a crucial Kia Super League win over Lancashire Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Stars posted 167 for eight and defended it comfortably to win for the second time in six games, by 55 runs, and breathe life into their Finals Day hopes.
They moved to within a point of the Thunder, who currently occupy the all important third place but have lost their last two outings and three from six in all.
South African opener Lee led the way with 70 off 37 balls, including six sixes, after the visitors had been inserted.
Her international captain Dane van Niekerk then claimed three for 20 as the Thunder were bowled out for 112 in the last over.
The majority of Lee’s sixes were slog swept over mid-wicket or long-on, with one narrowly avoiding a sprawling Ebony Rainford-Brent, Surrey’s director of women’s cricket, who comically tripped over a kit bag just beyond the boundary rope.
Lee shared 94 in eight and a half overs for the second wicket with former Thunder wicketkeeper Taylor.
The England star was typically inventive on the way to 51 off 37 balls as the pair advanced the score from 16 for one in their bid to avenge last week’s defeat to the Thunder at the Kia Oval.
Lancashire dragged things back well in the second half of the Stars innings, with the visitors having reached the 10-over mark at 92 for one on an excellent pitch.
Off-spinner Emma Lamb continued her impressive competition with two for 12 from three overs, while Sophie Ecclestone and captain Danni Hazell claimed two wickets apiece.
Ecclestone had Lee superbly caught low down at deep square-leg by Nicole Bolton, with that slog sweep eventually proving her undoing.
Hazell then bowled Taylor shortly after taking a superb reflex catch at cover at the second attempt to remove van Niekerk (19).
Wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld also claimed her eighth stumping of the competition off Lamb in the last over.
Thunder opening pair Bolton and Eve Jones were then tied down at the start of the chase, reaching 20 without loss after five overs.
Nineteen came off the next two overs, but there just wasn't enough impetus.
Bolton (24) fell in the 10th over, caught at long-off to van Niekerk’s leg-spin as the score slipped to 55 for one, where Lancashire reached at halfway.
Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur was then run out without facing in the next over courtesy of a Bryony Smith throw at the striker’s end from cover. Kaur was run out for nought off one ball against Western Storm last Friday.
New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite was quickly into her stride with 21 off her first 10 balls, but she fell in identical fashion to Bolton off her next ball as the score fell to 86 for three in the 14th.
Smith added her second catch to the run out as the Stars were clinical with the ball and in the field on their way to a first win in four games.
Jones was then caught at cover for 40 to leave van Niekerk on a hat-trick, and from there it was virtually game over.
Smith later struck twice with her off-spinners to cap a comprehensive bonus point victory (five points).