What's the story
After news of Indian superstar Smriti Mandhana making an impressive Kia Super League debut for the Western Storm earlier last month, it is now the turn of co-Indian-batswoman Harmanpreet Kaur to create an impact. And she has done exactly the same, smacking a six off the penultimate ball of the innings to lead her Lancashire side to a memorable win of five wickets, against Surrey Stars yesterday, June 31, 2018.
In case you didn't know...
The Kia Super League is an exclusive T20 tournament for women cricketers organized by the ECB since 2016. This year the event was in news for being the first time that Indian players signed up for participation, with Smriti Mandhana picked up by the Western Storms and Harmanpreet picked up by Lancashire.
With just thirteen runs to need from the last two overs and with eight wickets in hand, it looked as if Lancashire would walk home with an easy win. However, the situation changed in the penultimate over bowled by England's Natalie Sciver.
Nicole Bolton, who was unbeaten on 87 runs, was sent packing by Sciver in the third ball of the over, and followed it up with a clean ball to dislodge Emma Lamb's off and middle stumps, also conceding just two runs in the same over, bringing the target to eleven from six balls with six wickets in hand. Laura Marsh was assigned to bowl the last over.
Harman, who was then on strike at 21-off-17, took a single off the first ball and the strike changed to Eleanor Threlkeld, who ran for a non-existent run in the next ball, running herself out. But Harman had crossed over meanwhile, keeping strike for herself with ten runs to win in the remaining four.
She dispatched the next ball for a couple, hit the fourth ball to the fence and followed it up with a huge maximum over mid-wicket fence as she fetched her side what looked like an improbable victory. She ended the day with 34 off 21 balls, including three fours and that final six. This was Lancashire's third successive victory in the League after the initial loss, as they now stand third in the points table.
Earlier, disciplined bowling spells from the likes of Emma Lamb (3/34) and Kate Cross(1/20) resulted in Surrey ending up at 148/5. Nat Sciver top-scored with 95(57b, 9*4, 2*6) while Dane van Niekerk made a useful 29, as others failed to deliver. In return, Evelyn Jones (20 off 27) was the only double-digit-scorer apart from Nicole and Harman. Nicole was adjudged best player for her 87 runs.
Lancashire will face Surrey once again in the return-leg, tomorrow August 2, 2018. On August 3rd they have a game against Western Storms which will be exciting because it will feature Mandhana against Harmanpreet.
Mandhana is in excellent form meanwhile, as she helped Western Storms to a nine-wicket victory over Southern Vipers yesterday. She was also the player of the match, having scored 43(27b, 6*4, 1*6) while chasing 93. The Western Storms top the table at the end of four rounds.