Lancashire Thunder have given us the old London buses treatment this year. They waited 724 days for a Kia Super League victory – all the way back to 2016 – and then not just two, but three, come along at once.
Ellie Threlkeld’s starring role with bat and gloves in that first win, a Roses victory over Yorkshire, seems to have kick-started the Thunder who have carried their momentum forward under new head coach Alex Blackwell.
Their win away at the Oval against Surrey Stars earlier this week was a close-fought contest, with Harmanpreet Kaur striking the penultimate ball of the match for six to seal victory on her Lancashire Thunder debut.
India Women’s captain had her arrival at Lancashire for her first KSL season delayed by a visa issue but she underlined her quality with that knock at the Oval. It was put into the shade however by the efforts of Australia international Nicole Bolton, who smashed 87 from 61 balls to tee up the successful chase.
But if Thunder are to make it four wins in a row they will have to beat another in-form side in reigning KSL champions Western Storm. The Taunton-based side have also only lost just one of their four matches and have picked up successive wins after a comprehensive victory over Southern Vipers last time out.
Smriti Mandhana & Heather Knight shared 54-run partnership for the second wicket to beat Vipers by nine wickets with 10.3 overs to spare.
It will be the first match of a double-header at Old Trafford on Friday, as the Lightning face Leicestershire Foxes in the evening. Both Lancashire sides have made a strong start to their T20 campaigns and will hope for a successful Friday for their teams.
Emma Lamb has yet to deliver the runs she would like in the competition, but has been a star with the ball in the last couple of matches. Her 4-17 against Southern Vipers at Liverpool was followed by 3-34 at the Oval as her off spin helped Thunder to victory. Lancashire boast great strength in the spin department, with Lamb more of an option bowler, but she has proved her genuine all-rounder credentials this season.
Smriti Mandhana has been in scintillating form at the top of the order for Storm. Her destructive 52* from 18 balls set up victory in a six-over contest against Loughborough Lightning and an unbeaten 43 against Vipers was another thrilling display from the Indian. She is the leading run-scorer in the KSL, averaging 90 this season. If Lancashire are to win this one, getting Mandhana’s wicket early will be crucial.
Lancashire Thunder (from): Danielle Hazell (c), Kate Cross, Alex Hartley, Sophie Ecclestone, Amy Satterthwaite, Harmanpreet Kaur, Nicole Bolton, Emma Lamb, Ellie Threlkeld, Georgie Boyce, Eve Jones, Natalie Brown, Rachel Dickinson, Alice Dyson, Tash Miles
Western Storm (from): Heather Knight (c), Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson, Stafanie Taylor, Rachel Priest, Smriti Mandhana, Freya Davies, Claire Nicholas, Sophie Luff, Danielle Gibson, Lauren Parfitt, Naomi Dattani, Lissy Macleod, Amara Carr, Rebecca Silk
Weather and Conditions
There is set to be some rain around the area but this game ought to avoid the worst of it. Old Trafford generally offers a good batting track but one that gives some assistance to the spinners.
Date: August 3rd 2018
Ground: Emirates Old Trafford