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MATCH REPORT: Thunder win thriller at Blackpool against Sunrisers

MATCH REPORT: Thunder win thriller at Blackpool against Sunrisers

Kate Cross hit a six and a four in the final over while Seren Smale made her highest score in the competition to deliver a thrilling last over five-wicket victory with for the Lancashire Thunder  against Sunrisers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup at Blackpool.

The result leaves the Thunder in fifth place, four points behind Central Sparks who occupy the fourth qualifying spot but Sunrisers, who remain on 8 points, now face an uphill task to qualify for the playoffs.

It was an exciting finale after Sunrisers had posted 151 for nine after winning the toss, one run shy of their best total in this season’s competition, led by Lissy Macleod’s 60, while Sophie Ecclestone was the pick of the Thunder bowlers with three for 18.

Seren Smale was the batting hero for Thunder holding the middle of the innings together with an unbeaten 39, her best score in this competition, and late runs from Ecclestone and Cross were vital in clinching the win for the hosts who finished on 155 for five – their highest ever T20 run chase.


The Thunder started their run chase brightly, Fi Morris driving Nicola Hancock for six and striking three fours before she was run out for 25 off 11 balls. That was the first of two wickets falling for four runs after sub fielder Kate Coppack took a good diving catch off Sophie Munro to send back Emma Lamb for 14 with Thunder 43 for two in the seventh over.

Katie Mack and Smale steered Thunder to 69 at halfway and Aussie overseas player Mack had just upped the tempo with three fours when she was run out for 28 by a superb direct hit from long-on by Jo Gardner, with

Thunder 93 for three in the 13th over needing 59 off 46 balls.

That looked to be a crucial blow, especially when Eva Gray bowled Ellie Threlkeld for two but Ecclestone and Smale kept Thunder in the hunt before play was halted by rain with the hosts on 123 for four needing 29 off 18 balls.

After a 25-minute delay, Ecclestone departed for 23 but Smale and Cross reduced the target to nine off the last over from Grace Scrivens.

Cross (17 not out off 6 balls) then delivered to clinch victory with three balls to spare.

Earlier, Mady Villiers hit the first ball she faced for six over midwicket off Tara Norris but perished for 11 in the second over when repeating the shot off Cross but instead finding Dani Collins on the deep midwicket fence.

Gardner and Macleod rebuilt swiftly with a 33-run partnership off 23 balls before the former was bowled for 14 after attempting an ambitious leg side scoop from Ecclestone’s third delivery.

It was the introduction of spin slowed the Sunrisers progress, Morris (two for 24) trapping both Scrivens (11) and Flo Miller (1) lbw in the same over to leave the visitors 72 for four at the halfway stage of the innings.

When Ecclestone struck again in the following over after Jodi Grewcock pulled her first ball into the hands of Emma Lamb at midwicket, Sunrisers had lost three wickets for three runs in nine balls.

It was Macleod who held the innings together hitting seven fours in reaching her fifty from just 33 balls.

And she received great support from Amu Surenkumar who made a sprightly 31 off 23 balls as the pair hit out effectively to add 60 in exactly seven overs.

Thunder hit back by taking three wickets in three chaotic balls in the 18th over with MacLeod and Surenkumar both run out and Gray lbw first ball to Ecclestone. The visitors scrambled to get themselves past the 150-mark but it proved to be in vain.

“Seren did all the hard work,” laughed Kate Cross after the sixth wicket pair had taken Lancashire Thunder to victory.

“I just ran a bit,” chipped in Smale when the pair spoke after the match. “And Crossy did a bit smacking that straight six.”

“Seren kept us in the game and I thought it was an outstanding knock,” said Cross.

“If you look at their innings they didn’t have a set batter at the end,” said Smale. “If you do then someone like Crossy can come in and tee-off straight away. It was nice to have someone like that at the other end.

“So I was thinking I need to stay here (and see it through), especially after coming off not a great game last time. I was thinking I’m going to win the game for the team, so that’s what I tried to do.”

“The rain delay was good for us,” added Cross. “Because it gave us the chance to reassess our plans and reaffirm that what the girls were doing out there was really good.

“We knew it would be a little bit skiddier and that played into our hands. Their fielders made a few mistakes.

“We were pretty calm about it. I think Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method is pretty good indication of where you are as a team in terms of chasing. Being par at that point was a great place to be.

“It always nice to win games for Lancashire. I think that’s one of the first times I’ve been able to walk off and shake hands with bat in hand!

“That was really nice. But I’m really pleased from the group point of view with how we’ve turned it around.

“The last two games have been so disappointing, and I think to have a performance like and produce our highest run chase ever just goes to show the grit and determination we’ve got in the group.

“We’ve got some really brilliant cricketers.

“If we can go on the road and sneak our way into finals day then we’ve got a great team who have a great chance of winning.”  

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