Lightning won with relative ease at their spiritual home, Loughborough, against a Sunrisers side still looking for their first win. Sunrisers made Lightning work at times, but the East Midlands side won the crucial phases and came out on top by 5 wickets with 58 balls to spare.
The scorecard will deceive in years to come – as it will show that Teresa Graves took four for 39 with the ball and Michaela Kirk top-scored for Lightning with her first fifty for Lightning with 57 – but it was truly a team effort in the field, and then with the bat.
Kathryn Bryce and Sophie Munro always set the standard up front with the ball; along with Kirstie Gordon, they reduced Sunrisers to 31 for three at the end of the powerplay.
Sunrisers must have feared the worse, having been skittled out the previous week for just 53 at Fenner’s against Northern Diamonds. They eventually settled down, and Cordelia Griffith and Naomi Dattani added 60 for the 4th wicket.
Dattani was determined not to give her wicket away and settled in. She became only the second sunrisers player to score a half-century this season, and it was proving crucial. The let-handed bat ended up with 65 runs from 92 runs.
Dattani settled in with Kelly Castle for the fifth wicket, who also passed the fifty mark with 53 runs from 66 runs.
As so often has happened with Sunrisers, they could not string more than a couple of partnerships together, and soon 177 for five became 195 for nine.
While Gordon only picked up one wicket – and with her second ball – she was again economical, going for just 27 runs from her ten overs.
In her first season in English domestic cricket since her switch from South Africa, Kirk relished the chance to open the batting with Sarah Bryce. The pair negotiated the powerplay and put down a platform for Lightning to win the game with relative ease.
The pair had added 57 for the first wicket before Grace Scrivens had Sarah Bryce caught for 16. It could have caused panic in the Lightning order, especially when Kathryn Bryce was bowled for 12.
By that time, however, Lighting were 104 for two. Abbey Freeborn, who had taken two fantastic catches in the Sunrisers innings, played a mature innings.
With Lucy Higham, the pair were able to milk the Sunrisers bowlers. They often found the boundary in the early part of the over. It allowed them to carefully take any singles on offer for the rest of the over.
It was the type of play that you would expect from two young professionals learning their trade. Freeborn fell for a well-paced 44 with just two balls to go before Sonia Odedra on 24, and Teresa Graves on five not out took Lightning over the line.
Sunrisers can take some positives out of this game; they had spells in the game where Lightning had to work for the win. If they can get their top order firing, they will eventually win that elusive first game.
A break for the T20 regional competition and then the hundred may have come at the wrong time for Lightning, but a different focus may be what Sunrisers need just now.