Lancashire Thunder bowler Alex Hartley felt her side left themselves too much to do with the ball after posting below-par total in defeat to Loughborough Lightning in their KSL opener at Southport.
Hartley took 2-14 as Lancashire’s spinners gave themselves hope of defending 72 to win their first KSL game since 2016, but Georgia Elwiss and Georgia Adams guided Lightning to victory with 4.5 overs to spare.
Lightning lost all of their KSL games in 2017 and would have hoped for a better start to this campaign, but Hartley – who was heavily critical of the pitch – isn’t too concerned about this result.
“We just didn’t get enough with the bat, the wicket was awful,” the England spinner said.
“Probably the worst wicket we will play on all season.
“We were probably 25 runs short, it got a lot closer than I thought it was going to be. It was an absolute bunsen burner out there. It’s a disappointing start but it’s a long competition and it doesn’t mean anything.
“The ball was turning miles and we have got the spin attack to bowl teams out, it was just unfortunate that we were 25 runs short with the bat.
“As were batting we were like ‘here we go again, 50 all out’ but the girls batting at the bottom Kate Cross and Natalie Brown did well to get us up to 72 but once we get that win under our belt we will be fine.”
Lightning won the toss and asked Thunder to bat. They made early inroads with two scalps in the first over – Sophie Devine trapping Nicole Bolton for a golden duck before having Georgie Boyce caught at cover.
That left the hosts 5-2 and, despite some good hitting from Eve Jones, the wickets were soon tumbling again.
Jenny Gunn, on her Loughborough debut after two seasons at Yorkshire Diamonds, struck with the first two balls for her new club removing Amy Satterthwaite and Emma Lamb.
Jones fell to Lucy Higham and Kirstie Gordon, the 20-year-old Scot on her KSL debut dismissed 19-year-old Ellie Threlkeld.
It was the first of two wickets for Gordon and Thunder found themselves in all sorts of bother on 45-8. There was a rally from ninth-wicket pair Kate Cross and Natalie Brown – putting on 26 – but quick wickets from Gunn and Devine wrapped the innings up for 72, 3.1 overs short of their allotted 20.
Loughborough were firm favourites, then, but Thunder made a strong start to their defence.
Kate Cross struck in the third over to leave the visitors 5-1 by bowling Sarah Glenn. Devine was looking powerful with a big six off Lamb, but she picked out Cross in the deep when attempting another.
15-2 soon became 25-3 as Hartley picked up her first by trapping Elyse Villani. Lightning added just 11 runs in five overs but the partnership between Elwiss and Adams proved decisive.
They took nine from Danielle Hazell’s 14th over and then 15 from Lamb’s 15th – including a big six for Adams.
Victory came with 4.5 overs to spare when Adams punched Sophie Ecclestone through the covers for four.
Loughborough Lightning therefore up and running with a strong win and one which pleased their Head Coach Rob Taylor.
“Getting the win was the most important thing and that was a really good partnership at the end there between Georgia Adams and Georgia Elwiss to get us over the line,” he said.
“Lancashire came into this and it was mentioned before the game how much spin they have and how much international spin they have. For our girls to stand up and say we are going to outperform them is massive for our confidence and a team and for those individuals going forward.
“It wasn’t an attractive game of cricket to watch, I’d have liked a wicket with a little less turn and a little more pace in it. That’s just one of those things, it is what it is and you still have to get the job done which we did.”