Thunder defeated in opening Kia Super League game
Loughborough Lightning opened their 2018 Kia Super League campaign with a six-wicket win over Lancashire Thunder at Southport.
In a low-scoring contest, a 29-run partnership between Georgia Adams and Georgia Elwiss guided the visitors to the victory over a Thunder side who were winless in the 2017 season.
Jenny Gunn and Sophie Devine claimed three wickets each in an impressive Lightning bowling display, having won the toss, which restricted Thunder to 72 all out and set up the victory.
With such a low target on the board, Thunder needed to start their bowling well and they did just that. After a couple of tight overs, Kate Cross, fresh from her international return against New Zealand, clean bowled Sarah Glenn for a duck in the third over.
Sophie Devine struck a huge six off Emma Lamb but perished while attempting another, succeeding only in finding Cross on the boundary. That left Lightning 15-2.
And Thunder’s tails were well and truly up in the sixth over. England international Alex Hartley, who’s returned to her native Lancashire for this KSL, had Amy Jones stumped for four. At the end of the powerplay, Lightning were 25-3.
Hartley had her second in the ninth over as Elyse Villani attempted to sweep but was trapped lbw. Lancashire’s line-up is packed with spin options and they proceeded to stall the Lightning.
Just 11 runs were added in five overs, but Loughborough were guided over the line thanks Adams and Elwiss. They took nine from Danielle Hazell’s 14th over and then 15 from Lamb’s 15th – including a big six for Adams.
Victory came with 4.5 overs to spare when Adams punched Sophie Ecclestone through the covers for four.
Having been asked to bat first, things started badly for Thunder and steadily got worse. Devine – who notched a century for New Zealand Women against England two weeks ago – picked up two wickets in the opening over.
She trapped Australia international Nicole Bolton, on her KSL debut, for a first-ball duck and also sent Georgie Boyce on her way without scoring as she was caught by Georgia Elwiss at cover.
From 5-2, Lancashire needed to respond and looked well set to do so thanks to a strong start from Eve Jones who raced to 17 from just 11 balls.
She put on 23 for the third wicket with Amy Satterthwaite but Gunn struck twice in her first two balls for Loughborough after joining from Yorkshire Diamonds for this season. Satterthwaite was clean bowled and Lamb clipped straight to Linsey Smith at square leg.
Ellie Threlkeld kept out the hat-trick delivery but Thunder wickets kept on tumbling. Jones was the next to fall for 19 to Lucy Higham and Threlkeld joined her in the following over – a first scalp for 20-year-old Scot Kirstie Gordon on her KSL debut.
By the halfway stage, Thunder found themselves 43-6. Gordon kept Lightning on the attack with a super delivery to bowl Ecclestone.
There was a glimmer of hope provided by Thunder’s ninth-wicket pair of Cross and Natalie Brown, who shared a partnership of 26 as Brown whacked the only six of the innings in the 15th over.
But two quick blows from first Gunn and then Devine, who both finished with three wickets, removed Brown and Alex Hartley to dismiss Lancashire for 72 – a total that was never going to be enough.