Thunder beaten in KSL opener at Liverpool
Vipers win by 34 runs in curtain raiser
Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt, who also struck with the ball, hit half-centuries in an explosive second-wicket partnership of 100 to underpin a resounding Southern Vipers victory over Lancashire Thunder at Liverpool on the opening day of the Kia Super League.
Beaumont smashed five sixes in 53 off 33 balls, including three in as many balls, as the Vipers posted an imposing 166 for seven having elected to bat.
Beaumont’s first game as captain having taken over from Suzie Bates saw the 2016 champions fly out of the blocks as opener Wyatt hit 10 fours in 54 off 39 balls against her former side, while dangerous West Indian Stefanie Taylor hit a late 40.
In reply, Thunder opener Georgie Boyce hit a bright 43, but Wyatt’s off-spin returned two for 14 from three overs, doubling her tally of career KSL wickets, as the hosts were bowled out for 132.
Lancashire, who lost by 34 runs, will rue erring in line and length all too often with the ball on true pitch.
Cross, who actually struck early to remove New Zealander Bates, used eight bowlers on her captaincy debut, with only England team-mate Sophie Ecclestone (one for 12 from four overs) able to offer any real control with her left-arm spinners.
Another left-arm spinner, Alex Hartley, claimed two wickets but was expensive.
Wyatt and Beaumont, England’s T20 opening partnership, shared 100 in 10.3 overs to advance from eight for one in the second.
Both were particularly punishing on anything short and wide.
Wyatt was first to 50 off 33 balls before, in the eleventh over, Beaumont moved to 50 off 23 with three successive sixes off seamer Cross.
Sophia Dunkley later took a superb return catch with her leg-spinners to remove Beaumont in an attempt to stymie progress.
Beaumont further stamped her authority on the game early in the Thunder chase when she took a good high catch in swirling wind at mid-wicket to help new ball seamer Lauren Bell remove South African Sune Luus, leaving the score at 11 for one in the fourth over.
Boyce and Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath (28) both hit sixes as 32 then came off the medium pace of Bates and the leg-spin of McGrath’s Adelaide Strikers Big Bash team-mate Adam Wellington in the ninth and 10th overs to take the hosts to 65 for one at the halfway mark.
But Wyatt’s off-spin claimed the scalp of McGrath in the 11th, caught at long-on, as the score fell to 68 for two.
She struck again in the 13th to get Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur stumped by Carla Rudd for one (77 for three) before wickets fell in a hurry in a forlorn pursuit of a quick runs and the victory target.
Boyce was one of those, while Wyatt also added a catch to rubber-stamp her memorable day. Tash Farrant finished three for 18.
Both sides are next in action on Thursday - the Vipers travel to Loughborough and the Thunder take on champions Surrey at Guildford.