The second edition of the Women’s Super League made sure the euphoria after the Women’s World Cup 2017 doesn’t die down anytime soon, with the first week producing plenty of interesting encounters.
Southern Vipers, the defending champions led by Charlotte Edwards, started off with a bang, winning two matches – beating Western Storms by nine wickets and Loughborough Lightning by 46 runs — with bonus points to reach the top of the points table. Surrey Stars won both their games too – defeating Yorkshire Diamonds by eight wickets and Lancashire Thunder by 33 runs — to secure the second spot.
Suzie Bates slams first WSL century
Putting the disappointment of the World Cup behind her, the Southern Vipers opener produced a batting masterclass against Lightning, slamming the first century in WSL history. In a knock laced with 15 fours and four towering sixes, she hit 119 in just 63 deliveries, going past the previous highest score in the league – Dane van Niekerk’s 91 for Lightning. Her knock helped Vipers reach 180 for 2 in their 20 overs, also the highest team total in the league to date.
Bates is the highest run scorer so far in the tournament, with 166 runs in two matches and is yet to be dismissed. She has also picked up five wickets with her medium pace at 4.60 and an economy rate of 3.83.
— ECB???? (@ECB_cricket) August 15, 2017
No Lightning spark
They finished third in the inaugural season of WSL. They boast of players like Elysse Perry, the leading allrounder in the world, and Elyse Villani. They were touted as one of the favourites coming into this season. Yet Lightning have lost all their three games so far, and have realistically no chance of making it to Final’s Day.
Lightning have simply failed to capitalise on the key moments. In their opening game against Western Storm in Taunton, they lost four wickets in the space of 12 deliveries to slip from a comfortable 54 for 1 in the eighth over to 59 for 5 in the tenth. In the second match, Bates was dropped by Perry on 39 and they paid a steep price for it. And losing van Niekerk, their star performer in the first edition, prior to the start of the tournament hasn’t helped their cause either.
Chamari Athapaththu makes her mark
The 27-year-old Sri Lankan made the world sit up and take notice, when she smacked an unbeaten 143-ball 178 – the highest score by a batter in World Cup history – during a league game against Australia. And now she’s ensured that knock was no flash in the pan with two sterling performances at WSL.
Drafted in as replacement for Beth Mooney for Yorkshire, Athapaththu, the only Asian to feature in this year’s tournament, slammed a 38-ball 41 in her team’s opening match against Lancashire Thunder. She then followed it up with a match-winning 66 not out in 40 deliveries against Lightning to help her team reach 110 for 5 in the rain-curtailed 13-over-a-side contest. She also picked up 2 for 11 in three overs, including the all-important wicket of George Elwiss, the Lightning skipper and top-scorer, to help her side to a 17-run win.
The missing thriller
Where are the nail-biting thrillers? Most of the exchanges so far have been one-sided affairs, with teams winning with a bonus point in three out of the seven games. The World Cup stars are also yet to find their stride, and injuries to some of the marquee players like Harmanpreet Kaur, van Niekerk, and Mooney have dulled a bit of the tournament’s shine. That said, the top teams on the points table are gearing up for a clash in the next week so fingers crossed we might get to witness some close encounters soon.
From Stafanie Taylor to Natalie Sciver, the first week of WSL had its fair share of impressive moments, but a five-for in a Twenty20 match is as rare as it gets. Which is why Rene Farrell’s 5 for 26 for Surrey Stars against Lancashire is the star performance of the week.
Chasing 134 for victory, Lancashire were well placed at 86 for 3 in the 14th over. That is, until Sarah Taylor’s dismissal for 34 sparked a dramatic collapse. Lancashire lost five wickets for five runs to slip to 91 for 8, eventually folding for 100, with Farrell – who retired from One-Day Internationals before the World Cup – picking up just the second five-wicket haul in the league’s history.
— ECB???? (@ECB_cricket) August 16, 2017
No takers for Taylor’s high-five
In the first ball of the 14th over Jess Jonassen, the Lancashire spinner, seeing Laura Marsh, the Surrey batsman, step out fired one on leg stump. Sarah Taylor, the wicketkeeper, swiftly moved to her left and effected a neat stumping. What followed was a hilarious few seconds: the bowler celebrated with the fielder running in, completely oblivious of Taylor who had her hands up, expecting a high five.
Still love this ???????????? @Sarah_Taylor30
— SJ Taylor Fans ???????? (@SJTaylorfans) August 18, 2017
Bates’s innings of 119 of 63 deliveries against Lightning is the highest score in the Super League history. She also scored 66.11% of her team’s total.