Report: Northern Diamonds vs Lightning

Northern Diamonds v Lightning

Charlotte Edwards Cup, Group B

Wednesday June 1, 2022 (2.15pm)

The Seat Unique Riverside, Durham

Toss: Northern Diamonds won and elected to bat first.

Team: Diamonds - Heath w, Kalis, Armitage c, Smith, Dobson, Turner, Marlow, Levick, Hill, Y Graves, Kasperek.

Lightning - Kelly, Harmer, Claridge, S Bryce w, K Bryce c, Ellis, T Graves, Cleary, Munro, Higham, Ballinger.

Match Summary: Northern Diamonds held their nerve in the final over to close out a tense five-run victory over Lightning to keep their Finals Day hopes alive heading into the last Group B game this weekend.

Openers Bess Heath and Sterre Kalis were outstanding with the bat to lead the way for the Diamonds with a stand of 93.

It allowed Diamonds to post a competitive total of 145-5, with Heath top-scoring with a fine 60 from 46 balls, while Kalis scored 39.

Excellent Hollie Armitage also made her mark with bat and ball, taking 4-27 along with a crucial knock of 30.

The skipper held her nerve in the closing overs of the Lightning innings just when it appeared as though the visitors were in position to take charge.

Armitage took three wickets in four balls before fellow spinner Linsey Smith claimed a further two scalps in the final over, defending a target of 10, to allow the Diamonds to hold out for a narrow win. Lightning finished 140 all out.

The victory leaves the Diamonds on 14 points in second place in Group B ahead of a crucial showdown against Southern Vipers at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, needing to better South East Stars’ result in their final game against Sunrisers (Sunday) to finish as the best second place team.

Match Report: The Diamonds almost started on the back foot as Heath should have been run out for one, but Kathryn Bryce slipped as she looked to remove the bails at the non-striker’s end.

Heath made Lightning pay as she upped the ante in the powerplay with an outstanding opening partnership with Kalis.

Both batters used a variety of strokes to put the visitors under pressure, with their approach complementing each other to perfection.

Kalis pierced the field through the off-side, while Heath was on point on the sweep.

The two batters put on fifty in the seventh over to drive the Diamonds into a strong position.

Heath and Kalis had previously combined for 49 at the Seat Unique Riverside against Southern Vipers earlier in the competition, but pressed well beyond that mark.

Heath took control of the partnership and reached a well-deserved fifty off 38 balls by using a reverse sweep twice in the 12th over to find the boundary.

In the process, the pair surpassed the previous best partnership in the Charlotte Edwards Cup this season by Lauren Winfield-Hill and Armitage of 89 against Lightning at Loughborough.

However, Lucy Higham made the breakthrough for Lightning as Kalis (39) mistimed her drive and was caught at cover, ending a brilliant knock from the right-hander.

Heath and Armitage ensured the Diamonds maintained the momentum, pushing the score beyond 100 and into a promising platform for a late blast beyond 150.

The hosts were pegged back when Heath was finally dismissed for 60, losing her balance when attempting a big strike off Piepa Cleary and was stumped by Sarah Bryce (115-2 after 16 overs).

Armitage added late runs with a run-a-ball 30 before she was the final wicket to fall from the final ball of the innings to Sophie Munro.

Emma Marlow handed the Diamonds the perfect start to the defence of 145, removing Marie Kelly with the second ball of Lightning’s reply.

Bethany Harmer answered back, taking 21 from Mariko Hill’s first over and combining with Claridge to reach their fifty partnership in the seventh over.

In need of inspiration, Armitage introduced her own leg-spinners into the attack and broke the 74 partnership between Harmer and Claridge by removing the former lbw for 35.

Claridge kept the impetus going, but Katie Levick changed ends to prise out the right-hander for 41.

Further strikes from Marlow and Linsey Smith turned the contest back in the favour of the hosts, but the threat of Sarah Bryce remained.

Although the visitors pressed, Armitage kept finding a way, striking three times in four balls, missing out on a hat-trick after being swept for four by Cleary.

But she responded in turn to remove her with the following delivery (132-8 in the 19th over).

It was up to left-armer Smith to see her side over the line, defending 10 from the final over. She held her composure to dismiss Higham and Ballinger to secure the result, ending with 3-18.

Stat of the match: Bess Heath and Sterre Kalis put on 93 for the first wicket, the highest stand by the Diamonds in the Charlotte Edwards Cup this season.

Hollie Armitage’s 4-27 was also a career best for her in women’s T20 cricket.

Magic Moment: Lightning still had a chance to press for victory with Sophie Munro on the charge with 16 from nine balls and the score at 122-5 late in the 17th over.

However, Armitage claimed three wickets in four balls to halt their charge to remove Munro, Teresa Graves and Cleary, missing out on a hat-trick in the process.

The skipper came to the fore when her team needed her the most.

Turning Point: The Diamonds’ day could have been very different had Bess Heath not survived a run out on one.

Kathryn Bryce gathered the throw at the non-strikers’ end that would have seen Heath out by a comfortable distance. But Bryce slipped at the vital moment and failed to remove the bails, allowing Heath to press on and score the 60 runs that set up the victory for the Diamonds.

What they said: Bess Heath: “We like to keep things interesting as a team!

“It was a great performance by the girls today, we stuck at it even when things were not going our way at times.

“It was really pleasing to get over the line and get that vital win.

“We're heading for an exciting final game against Southern Vipers, we've just got to go there and win. We’ve got to go out there and play our best cricket and control what we can control.

“I got off to a slow start and Sterre was able to stick with me.

“Once I was in there I was seeing the ball a lot better. I gained a lot of confidence and I was able to hit those reverse sweeps to get to fifty, it was a nice feeling. I had to stop overthinking and it worked really well.”

What’s Next: Diamonds face a crucial showdown against Southern Vipers at the Ageas Bowl in the final game of Group B on Saturday (2.30pm) in our bid to reach Finals Day at Northampton on June 11.


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