Thank Jah for Suzie Bates. The opening round of Super League T20 cricket saw Bates lead her Southern Vipers with a slick all-round performance, however other than Bates there weren't too many contributions from our Kiwi County Tour gang. Not only that, there were a few shockers as well. All goodies though, we keep on rolling.
Game 1: Southern Vipers vs Western Storm
Suzie Bates vs Rachel Priest/Holly Huddleston
Southern Vipers got off to a cracking start as they go about their Championship defence, absolutely smoking Western Storm. Western for first to bat, which meant Rachel Priest got an early taste of action but that didn't last long as Priest was dismissed for 3 off 8 balls (37.50sr). This sparked a crappy ol' innings from Western as they were all out for 70 in 18.5 overs and Holly Huddleston was left not-out on 2 off 5 (40sr).
Bates snared 2/8 @ 2.66rpo from 3 overs, before she then went on to hit 47 off 31 balls (151.61sr) as Southern strolled to victory. By stroll, I mean a very casual morning walk; Southern reached their target of 71 in just 9 overs and the only wicket to fall was Bates' opening partner.
Unfortunately, that dominance with the bat from Bates came at the expense of Huddleston, who had a horrid innings. Huddleston only bowled 2 overs and conceded 38 runs via 5 no-balls, 2 overs that effectively handed the game to Bates and her Vipers. Of the 11 bowlers used in this game, there was only 1 no-ball bowled besides Huddleston's 5 no-balls.
Game 2: Yorkshire Diamonds vs Lancashire Thunder
Sophie Devine vs Amy Satterthwaite/Lea Tahuhu.
We had another niggly KCT battle as Sophie Devine's Yorkshire Diamonds defeated a Lancshire Thunder team with Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu in it. Devine's Diamonds batted first and they reached 162/4 from their 20 overs, with Devine contributing 11 off 8 (137.50sr) batting at No.3.
This was a tough opening game for Tahuhu as she went at 10.50rpo in her 4 overs, although her and Satterthwaite combined for Tahuhu's wicket. Satterthwaite also got through 4 overs and also took a wicket, yet she conceded 8.25rpo and of their 48 deliveries bowled, Satterthwaite and Tahuhu combined to bowl just 18 dot balls.
Devine wasn't required to bowl as the Yorkshire bowlers did a fine job in restricting Lancashire to 134/7 from their 20 overs in pursuit of 163 to win. Satterthwaite scored 28 off (26) at No.3 and Tahuhu did her best down the order at No.7 in hitting 11 off 6 balls (183.33sr) before she was run-out.
The major positive from this game was that Devine, Satterthwaite and Tahuhu all had strike-rates over 100 and we can chuck in Bates to that as well. This is a great sign early in the tournament and in these franchise T20 tournaments, it's less about how many runs you score and more about how quickly you score. So I'll be more concerned with strike-rates than averages or runs scored.
Game 3: Western Storm vs Loughborough Lightning
Rachel Priest/Holly Huddleston
Huddleston bounced back nicely from that no-ball-a-thon in the first game to take 1/21 from 3 overs @ 7rpo without a no-ball, in Western's second game against Loughborough. Coming in as the third bowler after opening the bowling in the first game, Huddleston played a solid hand in a strong bowling performance from Western that restricted Loughborough to 108/9 from their 20 overs.
Western chased that down in 19.1 overs (109/5) to seal victory, although this didn't feature any contribution from Priest, or Huddleston. Priest was dismissed for a duck off 4 balls and that's a fairly poor two-game stretch for Priest, with a positive being that Western have managed to go 1-1 through Priest's batting woes.
Game 4: Yorkshire Diamonds vs Surrey Stars
Yorkshire couldn't go back to back with wins in their first two games as they were defeated by Surrey. Sophie Devine did little to help Yorkshire as she was dismissed for 1 off 3 and Yorkshire were all out for 100 in 19.5 overs, a target that was chased down in 17.3 overs (104/3) by Surrey.
We did see Devine bowl though( 1 over @ 6rpo), which will be an intriguing yarn to follow over the course of the Super League as injury limited her bowling output during the World Cup.
Devine is an all-rounder and was signed as such, so Yorkshire will want her contributing with bat and ball, although this is off-set by Devine batting at No.3. Devine was the seventh bowler used and only bowled a single over, so don't expect her to feature heavily with the ball, that she bowled is low key interesting though.
That means Devine's gotta find a way to contribute batting at No.3. Innings like her first knock are the minimum as she came in at the 12th over after the openers had laid a platform, allowing Devine to hit freely. While Devine was dismissed after 8 balls, she kept the momentum flowing Yorkshire's way and if she can score 10+ runs with a strike-rate over 120, Devine will still be influential.
Suzie Bates sits in 4th for runs and has the 2nd highest strike-rate of the top-10 run-scorers. Bates is hitting at 151.61sr from one game, while Katherine Brunt (Eng/Yorkshire) is knocking it around with 193.10sr from two games. Bates is one of three players to hit 2 sixes and Brunt leads with 4 sixes.
Game 5: Loughborough Lightning vs Southern Vipers (Bates). Wed NZT.
Game 6: Lancashire Thunder (Satterthwaite/Tahuhu) vs Surrey Stars. Thurs NZT.
Peace and love 27.
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