It was as much the skill and experience of the Northern Diamonds bowling line-up as a bad day at the office for the Sunrisers’ batting display at Fenner’s.
On a gloriously sunny day at the Cambridge University ground, Diamonds’ battery of international bowlers blew the Sunrisers away, dismissing them for just 53. It was a case of when and not if Diamonds clinched victory, which ultimately came by nine wickets inside eight overs.
While Sunrisers are still looking for that winning combination, Northern Diamonds won their second away game in six days. It was much easier than Monday’s six-run win against Lightning at Kibworth.
Hollie Armitage won the toss and her bowlers rose to the task. Katherine Brunt has been in fine form this season. She has always come up with the early breakthrough that has settled the Diamonds nerves in the field.
There may have been a hint of fortune as Lissy MacLeod was adjudged lbw, but who can tell from cow corner?
Beth Lanston struck with the first ball of her next over as Grace Scriven slashed at a ball with a bit of width, and Lauren Winfield-Hill happily took the catch.
The combination of Brunt and Langston worked in the power play and after 10 overs Sunrisers were 16 for five. Brunt took the wickets of Cordelia Griffith and Mady Villiers. Brunt would finish with figures of three for five while Langston, in her hundredth List-A game, ended with two for 11.
Things didn’t get easier for Sunrisers after seeing off the opening bowlers as Jenny Gunn convinced Fran Wilson to drive down the ground and was caught at mid-off from Gunn’s first ball.
Sunrisers are used to fighting a late order come back. Today that failed to materialise and reliable players such as Jo Gardner walked back to the pavilion before they got into their stride.
With three for 10, Gunn gave nothing away during her spell, combining first with Nat Sciver and then Linsey Smith to keep the runs to a minimum.
Kelly Castle was bowled, leaving a Gunn delivery that cut back in without scoring. It was down to the last wicket pairing of Gayatri Gole and Kate Coppack to take Sunrisers past the 50 mark.
To defend 54 would take a mammoth effort against a Northern Diamonds batting line-up known for playing their shots. With the run-rate not a factor, Diamonds could go out and play with freedom.
The Sunrisers bowling was not on target like the Diamonds bowlers and, as a result, wides was the highest scorer but when the ball was in the right place, it pinged off the bat. Armitage’s first four echoed around the ground.
Winfield-Hill was the only casualty for Diamonds as she chased a wide one from Coppack and was caught behind by Amara Carr for seven.
Armitage and Sciver safely saw Northern Diamonds home as they chased the target down in just 46 balls. The final run coming predictably from a wide.
It feels like it will be another difficult season for Sunrisers, who might not see too much of Wilson or Villiers for the rest of the season.
For Northern Diamonds, this was their best bowling performance, albeit the first time they bowled first in three games. They will lose Brunt and Sciver soon.
However, their other players have shown that they can do a job in the absence of their two England stars.