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Match Preview: Thunder vs Sunrisers

Match Preview: Thunder vs Sunrisers

Thunder v Sunrisers
Charlotte Edwards Cup, Group B
Friday July 9, 2.30pm
Emirates Old Trafford

Ellie Threlkeld has given the perfect summary of the Thunder’s eye-catching development this summer, saying: “We are finding ways to win a few games at the minute, whereas in the past we’ve found ways to lose them.”

It has very seldom been sweetness and (red) roses for the Thunder in previous years, even dating back to the days of the Lancashire Thunder in the Kia Super League from 2016 to 2019.

But they are in striking position this summer having won two from four in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and one from two in the ongoing Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup.

Threlkeld believes continuity of players across the Lancashire women and the Thunder is a key reason for this season’s encouragement, highlighted by standout wins against Central Sparks in 50-over cricket and Northern Diamonds in T20.

Thunder, boosted by the return of Kate Cross from England duty, face Sunrisers at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday (2.30pm), and wicketkeeper Threlkeld said: “We have the same group of girls across both teams.

“We’re training and playing a lot of cricket together, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, roles within the side, which is brilliant. It can only be a good thing.

“We’ve had a really good winter, and quite a few people are putting their hands up in games.

“We’re a group of girls who are all mates. Playing as a team out there is good fun, and we all enjoy it. We have a great coaching team and support staff behind us as well.

“Although we’ve said, ‘We are a bit of a development team and in five years’ time this is where we are looking’, at the same time we are grafting to win games at the minute.

“There’s a great vibe around the group.”

Threlkeld, 22, has made 129 appearances for Lancashire women, Lancashire Thunder and Thunder across one-day and T20 cricket since debuting in 2013 aged 14.

She has experienced the highs and lows of life wearing the Red Rose, admitting: “The Super League was a particularly tough four-year period for us.

“Myself, Emma Lamb and Alex Hartley, we’ve all been around the set-up for years now.

“So it’s great to see the progress both from us as a group of players and the structure as well with the professionalism.”

Threlkeld has taken eight dismissals behind the stumps in as many Thunder appearances this summer and has posted a top score of 48.

“I’m quite disappointed with my batting to be honest,” she said.

“I had a really good winter and worked hard, but it hasn’t quite come off yet.

“Luckily my keeping’s going well and I’ve been able to stay in the game.

“I am a keeper who bats. I’m trying to change that, but keeping is my main discipline. As long as that’s going well, I’m still contributing to the team.

“But I do really want to stand up with the bat.”

Friday against the Sunrisers, the first half of a double header alongside Lancashire’s men v Northamptonshire in the Vitality Blast, is a crucial game for Thunder.

All four sides in Group B - Thunder, Sunrisers, Diamonds and Storm - have won one of two so far in the CE Cup.

Despite losing last time out against Western Storm at Chester on Sunday, Threlkeld, Cross and company will be expected to beat the Sunrisers.

They have only won once across two summers as a region and also lost their last game against the Diamonds under lights at Chelmsford last Friday.

It is also the final game before the mid-season break for the Hundred and marks the halfway point in the competition. Only the top side in each of the two groups is assured of a place at Finals Day.

Opening batter Georgie Boyce scored 91 against Sunrisers in the late May Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy win at Chester.

She added: “It’s another opportunity to play at Old Trafford, to play at home. We’re really excited. The girls can’t wait to get going and hopefully put a good performance.

“We can only keep going with the momentum we have created for ourselves in the last couple of games and look to build on that.”

Previous meeting: The two sides met at Chester Boughton Hall during the opening weekend of the regional summer.

And Thunder were victorious by 36 runs in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

After Alex Hartley had elected to bat, opener Georgie Boyce hit a superb 91 off 117 balls to anchor the hosts’ 247-9, including 43 down the order from Kate Cross.

The medium pace of Sonali Patel returned 4-40 from seven overs for the Sunrisers.

In reply, Sunrisers were handily placed at 109-2, only to lose their last eight wickets for 102 to fall to 211 all out in the 46th over.

Cross added 3-49 from nine overs to her earlier runs, while Sophie Ecclestone’s left-arm spin accounted for an excellent 3-28 from 9.2 overs. England’s Fran Wilson top-scored for the Sunrisers with 50.

One to watch: Laura Jackson - The seam bowling all-rounder from Liverpool has produced some encouraging performances of late, none more so than in the RHF Trophy win over the Sparks at New Road last month when she returned 3-35 from 8.5 overs and then hit a crucial 30 from number seven in the nail biting chase of 204.

She takes the new ball and was miserly in two T20 friendlies for the Thunder against Lightning at the end of June.

Then, last week, playing for Lancashire women in the T20 friendly against Ireland at Emirates Old Trafford, she claimed a superb 4-15 from four overs in a convincing defence of 157, though didn’t take the new ball.

Jackson is a talented all-round sportswoman having grown up playing county age-group badminton.

Double header: At 6.30pm, Lancashire’s men face Northamptonshire in a must win Vitality Blast game.

The Lightning have three games remaining in the North Group and must win them all to have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

 
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