Kate Cross: "Thunder have nothing to lose"
Cross bullish ahead of this evening's trip to Southern Vipers
Captain Kate Cross has urged her winless Lancashire Thunder side to approach their remaining six Kia Super League games with a nothing-to-lose attitude, insisting: “We still have a chance of Finals Day”.
The Thunder have lost their opening four Super League games this summer, the latest being against arch-rivals Yorkshire Diamonds at Liverpool on Tuesday having beaten the White Rose outfit twice last season.
A thrilling game saw the Thunder lose by nine runs chasing a 152 target, with Emma Lamb’s 32 off 14 balls fashioning a recovery from 83 for four in the 14th over to take the target to 16 off two overs with three wickets left.
Unfortunately, they fell short, leaving them with no margin for error for the rest of the competition as they chase a top-three finish and a maiden Finals Day appearance at Hove on September 1.
Last year, for example, the Thunder narrowly missed out on qualification with five wins from their 10 games.
Cross and company travel to Hove tonight (Thursday, 7pm) to take on a Southern Vipers side who beat them at Liverpool last week and sit third in the table with two wins from four.
The skipper said: “We’ve got nothing to lose now, so hopefully we can go out and play some free cricket. We probably play some of our best cricket when we have nothing to lose.
“Emma Lamb’s innings is the prime example of that. She got us from being absolutely out of the game (Yorkshire) to give us a sniff of winning. We can all take a bit of something from how she batted.
“There’s still six games left, though. That’s a strong message to the girls.
“It’s hard to build belief in a dressing room when you don’t get wins, but I’m hoping the girls have got enough about them to prove a few people wrong now.
“If we can shift that momentum, we still have a chance of Finals Day. It’s not out of the equation yet.”
Despite four defeats on the spin, there have been encouraging signs for the Red Rose in their last two outings against Western Storm at Taunton on Saturday and then the Diamonds yesterday.
With a bit of luck here and there, they could have won both games, which would have given their campaign a completely different look and feel.
At Taunton, the Storm chased down 142 with only three balls left, while the Diamonds game also went into the last over, with them needing 10 to win with only one wicket in hand.
“We took a lot of belief from the game at Taunton on Saturday,” said Cross. “We were so close against one of the top teams in the league.
“Then, I thought we bowled well throughout against Yorkshire.
“Everyone was really clear with their plans. We know that Alyssa Healy can really damage you at the top of the order, but we kept her quite quiet in the power play.
“The way Sophia Dunkley (1-24 from four overs) came on and bowled with control with her leg-spinners was excellent.
“There are still positives we can take.”
Last Tuesday at Liverpool, the Vipers won by 34 runs defending a target of 167 on the back of half-centuries from England duo Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt, the latter who then contributed two wickets from three miserly overs of off-spin.