England wicket-keeper Amy Jones and Australian star Ellyse Perry shared a fourth wicket partnership of 83 as home side Loughborough Lightning beat Western Storm by 5 runs in a thriller, despite Heather Knight’s 74, the highest score in the Kia Super League to date.
Jones (46) and Perry (44) came together at a perilous 31-3 to share the impressive stand, building a solid platform before accelerating to put Lightning in a great position. A flurry of wickets saw Storm slow the rate down, before an Eve Jones (25) cameo saw Loughborough post 158-8 off their 20 overs.
Western Storm were looking for a fast start but were pegged back by some tight early bowling from Loughborough. England captain Heather Knight’s excellent knock looked to have given Western Storm the platform to chase down the score, but when she was run out, the game went away from the visitors.
Knight was undoubtedly disappointed to fall short but said “We just wanted to stay in the game as long as possible but a couple of wickets cost us but we can turn things around quickly and we can get back on track.”
Nine runs off the first three balls of the match looked to have given Loughborough a great start, but a clever piece of bowling saw Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss lured out of her crease, to be stumped by New Zealand international Rachel Priest.
Storm captain Knight then forced a mistake from one of Loughborough’s overseas stars, grabbing the wicket of Sophie Devine (1) before Anya Shrubsole bowled Dane Van Niekerk (18) after runs had began to dry up.
That brought together the partnership of Jones and Perry, who first consolidated for a period before their expansive range of shots began to show. The England wicket-keeper took the lead racing to 46 off 32 balls, departing to a Priest stumping again off Freya Davies.
Australian star Perry was then involved in a mix-up that saw Paige Scholfield (5) run-out, but went on to make 44 off 37 balls before holing out in the deep to Lizelle Lee.
Eve Jones smacked a quick-fire 25, launching Georgia Hennessey for a six and then the very next ball, hitting another boundary, before departing to Shrubsole as the innings reached its end. A run out off the last ball left Loughborough Lightning posting a strong 158-8.
The Western Storm chase wobbled early on, as an excellent power-play saw Loughborough get the prize wickets of overseas stars Priest (13) and Stafanie Taylor (9) before Knight and Fran Wilson (21) started the rebuilding process.
Knight was the aggressor in the partnership of 78 with her England colleague but when Wilson departed, the task got harder, though the composure shown by the Storm skipper suggested otherwise.
However, the match turned when Elwiss got the faintest of touches on a Hennessey straight drive, to leave Knight stranded out of her crease. Sonia Odedra’s impressive spell of 2-20 was the pick of the Lightning bowlers, whilst Perry’s final over secured the victory as they sealed a thrilling 5 run win.
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The Western Storm line up was: Rachel Priest +, Stafanie Taylor, Heather Knight*, Fran Wilson, Lizelle Lee, Sophie Luff, Georgia Hennessy, Anya Shrubsole, Jodie Dibble, Cait O’Keefe, Freya Davies.