Thunder end KSL campaign with Surrey defeat
Nine over dash concludes Kia Super League
Lizelle Lee and Nat Sciver smashed stunning half-centuries to fire Surrey Stars to reduced overs victory over Lancashire Thunder, by 35 runs, as the defending champions ended the Kia Super League in rip-roaring style at Blackpool.
Openers Lee and Sciver, the Stars captain, amassed a sensational 127 partnership in just two balls short of the allotted nine overs after rain prevented a start at Stanley Park until 5pm.
The Stars, unable to defend their title having only previously won two of their nine games, finished with 131 for one before the winless Thunder replied with 97 for seven, of which Australian Tahlia McGrath hit 41 off 19 balls and Hannah Jones took three wickets.
South African Lee crashed 75 off only 28 balls with 13 fours and three sixes, while England Sciver reached 50 off 26 with a boundary of the last ball of the innings from international team-mate Kate Cross.
With the Hundred replacing the KSL for next summer, this was both sides’ final game, and it included a combined total of 33 fours and nine sixes.
Lee, whose fifty came in only 17 balls in the fifth over, hit 70 of her 75 runs in boundaries, with her strike-rate of 267.85 the highest of the competition so far by some way.
Both Lee and fellow right-hander Sciver played strongly all around the innings and hardly mishit a shot. They pulled, cut and hit over the top and down the ground with great authority.
Cross, having earlier won the toss, took the only wicket of the innings when she bowled Lee late on in the ninth over, but she conceded 42 in her two overs.
The 127 partnership is the second highest by any pair in this season’s Super League behind the 133 Western Storm openers Rachel Priest and Smriti Mandhana shared in a victory over Yorkshire at York earlier this month.
Lancashire’s hopes of finishing on a high were dashed long before the halfway mark in the game.
They finish 2019 winless, with nine defeats and a tie and have finished bottom of the table for three seasons out of four.
In four years, they have only won six times. Five of those came last year when they narrowly missed out on Finals Day.
But McGrath had some fun in the chase, nonetheless.
She hit six fours and a huge six, over mid-wicket and out of the ground, in seven balls faced against seamers Eva Gary and Marizanne Kapp, taking the Thunder to 38 without loss after three overs.
But she fell to off-spinner Bryony Smith, who struck twice in the fifth over (54 for two) to remove McGrath and fellow opener Eve Jones caught at long-off.
Another off-spinner Jones then struck three in the seventh over to get Sune Luus caught at long-on by Lee - her second catch - and Indian Harmanpreet Kaur and Cross stumped, leaving the score at 71 for six.
Gray and Grace Gibbs also struck.