Lancashire Thunder kept their hopes of a first Kia Super League Finals Day appearance alive by beating Yorkshire Diamonds in an enthralling clash at Blackpool.
The Thunder completed the double over the Diamonds to knock their arch-rivals out of contention as they defended a target of 155 to win by nine runs.
Their first win in five games and their fourth from nine in all owed a lot to India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s superb 74 off 44 balls as they posted 154 for nine having been inserted.
Yorkshire then slipped to 70 for four in the 12th over of their chase before England all-rounders Alice Davidson-Richards and Katherine Brunt revived hopes with a fifth-wicket stand of 61 in 37 balls.
But the Diamonds failed to get 19 off the last over, with the Diamonds finishing on 145 for eight and Brunt unbeaten on 44 off 25.
Lancashire travel to the Ageas Bowl to face Southern Vipers on Saturday (7pm) knowing they have to win and hope Surrey Stars lose to Western Storm at the Kia Oval. The Thunder are currently three points behind the third-placed Stars.
Lancashire’s innings was built around Kaur’s classy knock, including four fours and six sixes.
She was particularly strong down the ground and hitting to and over cover.
The 29-year-old was dropped on 11 by Beth Langston at long-off off Katie Levick’s leg-spin and made the Diamonds pay, sharing 53 for the third wicket with Australian opener Nicole Bolton, who impressed for 46.
Kaur drove Delissa Kimmince superbly through the covers for four – the shot of the day – and later hit two sixes in that same area.
She also shattered the window of a van housing the match day DJ beyond the boundary at long-off late in the innings before falling in the last over to Brunt – caught by Gwen Davies running around from point.
That was one of seven wickets to fall in the last 6.1 overs of the innings as the Thunder slipped from 91 for two to keep Yorkshire hopes alive.
That included three ducks and two run outs. Thankfully for Kaur, she wasn’t one of them having twice been run out for nought earlier in the competition.
Langtson and Levick struck twice apiece to add to Brunt’s trio.
Kate Cross then trapped Lauren Winfield lbw with the fourth ball of the Diamonds chase, which was quickly given impetus by Beth Mooney and Thea Brookes as they took the score to 30 for one after four overs.
But England’s Sophie Ecclestone bowled two cheap overs, including a maiden, to wrestle back the momentum before helping fellow left-arm spinner Alex Hartley remove Brookes (22) with a catch at long-on as the score fell to 49 for two in the eighth.
Australian Mooney was then trapped lbw sweeping at Danni Hazell’s off-spin for 25 in the next over as the score fell to 52 for three.
Hartley also had Chamari Atapattu caught at long-on in the 12th (70 for four) before Davidson-Richards and Brunt kept visiting hopes alive with their strong fifth-wicket partnership.
They took the score to 100 for four after 15 overs and 123 for four after 17, with 32 required.
Davidson-Richards was then bowled by New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite’s off-spinners for 33 as the score fell to 131 for five after 18 overs.
Ecclestone (one for 17 from four) then removed Kimmince in the penultimate and helped run out Langston before Satterthwaite saw the game out.