Loughborough Lightning secured their first win at the third attempt in this year’s Kia Super League, hammering Yorkshire Diamonds by nine wickets with 40 balls to spare.
The Lightning, last year’s runners-up, restricted the Diamonds, now without a win in two matches, to 121 for six thanks to a miserly bowling display dominated by pace off.
Four wickets went to spin, including Sarah Glenn’s excellent one for 17 from four overs of leg-spin.
Loughborough’s West Indian Hayley Matthews, who opened the bowling and batting, then quickly helped put the game to bed with an unbeaten 54 off 39 balls.
She shared partnerships of 44 in 5.1 overs for the first wicket with Amy Jones and 78 unbroken in 8.1 for the second with Sri Lankan Chamari Atapattu, who crashed 40 off 29.
Yorkshire were hurt by no one going on beyond 30, with Hollie Armitage (23) and Alice Davidson-Richards (27) and Indian overseas Jemimah Rodrigues (20) all playing brightly.
Australian star Alyssa Healy was bowled for five by Matthews’ off-spin as she tried to make room to hit over the off-side before only two overs in the innings went for double figures.
Armitage cover drove two boundaries in as many balls off new ball seamer Kathryn Bryce in the fifth over before captain Lauren Winfield was trapped lbw for nine (31 for two).
Later, Davidson-Richards hit three fours in four balls against England left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon, including two in two balls over mid-on’s head, as the score moved to 85 for four.
Test Match bowler Gordon had Rodrigues caught and bowled and bowled Armitage pushing forwards in the 10th and 12th over as the score slipped to 69 for four.
Gordon’s figures of two for 27 from four overs were spoilt by conceding 12 off her last.
The hosts will be frustrated at having built a reasonable platform at 59 for two after nine overs, only to fall away.
Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss used eight bowlers, including herself. She bowled Cordelia Griffiths in Yorkshire’s bid for acceleration late on.
But 19-year-old Glenn continued her impressive start to the competition and was the pick of the attack.
In defeats to Western Storm and Southern Vipers last week, she claimed four wickets and added the late scalp of Davidson-Richards caught at deep mid-wicket.
Loughborough’s reply started with Katie George conceding five wides down leg off the first ball.
Jones then pulled a full toss from leg-spinner Helen Fenby for six into the healthily populated stands in the third over as the score moved to 24 without loss.
Jones miscued left-arm spinner Linsey Smith high to cover – 44 for one in the 12th – but Matthews maintained the momentum with some clean striking.
In reaching 50 off 38 balls with seven fours, she also hit leggie Katie Levick for six over long-on.
Leg-side dominant Atapattu pulled Fenby for six over mid-wicket and punished her former side, whose fielding was below par and bowling was short, under a grey Headingley sky.
While Loughborough will look to build on this win in their next outing against Western Storm at Bristol on Tuesday, Yorkshire face arch-rivals Lancashire Thunder, winless after three games, at Liverpool on the same day. Both are 2.30pm starts.
What they said…
Yorkshire coach Danni Hazell
“It’s disappointing. After battling to get a decent score, we’d have been confident that our bowling from the other night (against Surrey Stars) would have done the job.
“But, all round, it was not good enough.
“Second half most things went wrong.
“We could have done with 20 or 30 runs more. But, even with that, our bowling and fielding wouldn’t have been good enough.
“We had an honest chat in the changing room, and we now have to put our best foot forward on Tuesday against Lancashire at Liverpool.”
Loughborough coach Rob Taylor
“The big thing I’m pleased with is the response from our first two games.
“We didn’t play the cricket we can, and there were areas for improvement. Today, I said to the girls, ‘This is an opportunity for us to make a statement with three games on the road’.
“The way we came out and controlled the game in the first half was really good. Then, we dominated with the bat and played clever cricket.
“The stats here suggest that teams batting first here in the Super League win games 80 percent of the time. But we saw the wicket, which had been under covers, and thought bowling first would be best.
“Getting Healy early was a massive wicket because we could control it all the way through.
“Sarah Glenn has been exceptional in all three games so far. She keeps things simple and bowls good areas.
“She bowled the 19th over, which she hasn’t done loads of, and nailed it.
“Even though our plans haven’t worked for two games, we’ve stuck to our guns with bat and ball.
“Hayley and and Amy played to their strengths, and Chamari showed how dangerous she’ll be for us.”