Dani Hazell praised the character of her Northern Diamonds players after their nail-biting six-run win over Sunrisers at Headingley when they defended a target of 195.
Contributions came from all over in a game which swung this way and that, but only decisively so when Hollie Armitage trapped Abtaha Maqsood lbw in the 46th over, leaving Sunrisers sunk at 188 all out.
Amazingly, all 20 wickets in the game fell to spin, owing much to the strength of both sides’ bowling attacks rather than the nature of Headingley pitch which gripped but didn’t rag.
“You shouldn’t be surprised given it’s two sides coached by former spinners,” laughed Hazell, referring to her opposite number Laura Marsh, an ex-England team-mate.
“Not the best of performances shall we say, but equally that’s the fight we showed last year and the real quality of this team.
“To be able to take it right down to the end and win from a situation where we potentially shouldn’t have is brilliant. It keeps our momentum going at the start of this competition.”
The Diamonds have two wins and eight points from two games, one behind defending champions Southern Vipers, who are also two from two.
But, for so long, it looked as if the Diamonds would be dealing with a rough edge, so to speak.
They were 120-8 with the bat before Sunrisers made a solid start to their response at 44-0. Even when they were nine down in the 180s chasing, the game was in the lap of the gods.
“To be honest, I thought we won it with nine, 10, 11 with the bat - Kasperek, Levick and Slater. They did a brilliant job to get us in a position where we had a chance,” said Hazell.
“From there, we could put our stamp on the game.”
That stamp came from three wickets apiece for off-spinner Emma Marlow and left-armer Linsey Smith plus two apiece for offie Kasperek and leggie Armitage.
“We know our spinners are our strength, and they came to the party for us,” added Hazell.
“We know what we get from them, and we shouldn’t always just expect it. But they’ve done consistently well for us.
“It was such an important win.”
The Diamonds are back in action against Central Sparks at New Road on Saturday (10.30am). It is the penultimate game before the break for the Hundred.