The third season of the Women’s Cricket Super League that started on July 22nd is coming to an end with the finals placed on August 27th 2018. Where Loughborough Lightning led by Georgia Elwiss has bagged its spot in the finals, the defending champions and The Surrey Stars will confront each other in the semi finals that is to be played on the same day at Hove.
Image Courtesy : Sky Sports
Surprisingly, it’s very much the same situation this year as compared to the second season of the league. The semi finals played between The Surrey Stars and the Western Storm, it was the Southern Vipers who had made it to the finals where Loughborough Lightning hadn’t qualified having only 10 points to their name, winning only 2 out of the five games that they had played. Each team getting to play a minimum of two matches against another has brought a major turn around in the third season giving a chance to teams to make a comeback in the league.
With players from around the world taking part, this league has seen various records being broken and many being made. A big boost for most taking part is the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup being round the corner.
Smriti Mandhana was the youngster who stole the limelight this year. Getting her name added to the list of the fastest fifty scorers, she is also the woman who scored a century off 60 balls against Lancashire Thunder to get her team over the line. Having an average of 60.14, she has 421 runs to her name and tops the list of the highest run scorers in the league. The most sixes have been hit by the youngster as well which comes as the cherry on the cake.The Western Storms definitely have big boots to fill with the absence of their star player in the semi final due to her national commitments. It will definitely be interesting to see how captain Heather Knight who is the second highest run scorer with 334 runs to her name and her company replace the star sensation. India definitely see a big positive as the 22 year old enjoys her career at its peak.
Being the defending champions The Western Storms would definitely want to retain their spot where The Surrey Stars would like to make a record. It would be interesting to see how the Heather Knight led team tackle The Stars having lost both matches against them in the league stage. The Storms having been part of the finals in all three seasons are likely to start as favorites with the slight edge where handling pressure is concerned.
The first time when both the teams played each other this season, The Western Storms were never in the game. Having being restricted to 132/9 in 20 overs, Sarah Taylor never gave the opponents a chance to come back as she took her team over the line with her 50 in only 15.5 overs. The next encounter between the teams was in London where The Stars chased a total of 158 with 2 balls to spare. Where skipper Natalie Sciver would look to take her team home, it would be exciting to see if the Storms can get The Stars by a storm. Looking to make their mark by a third win, The Stars would like to make up for their loss at a crucial stage against the same team who went onto lift the trophy in 2017.
Loughborough Lightning already sealing its place where the final encounter for this year is concerned, it is a bowling dominated team with both the leading wicket takers as part of their side. They have won 7 games out of the 10 that they have played and stand at the top of the table with 33 points and a net run rate of +1.36. Losses against Surrey Stars and The Western Storms in rain interrupted games is an issue they will look to consider in the short span of time they have before the finals. Rachael Haynes having 307 runs in her bag will be a player to look out for on the 27th of August. She has scored three half centuries already and surely will come in handy where the Elwiss lead team is concerned. Having a good balance between both bat and ball they will look to come hard at their opposition which is yet to be known.
With exciting games coming up on Monday, we look forward to what the teams have to offer. Heather Knight led Western Storms had been wiped out by the Vipers in 2016 before wiping them out in 2017. Where one side would look to retain the trophy,the other two would want to make history and it would be interesting to see what strategies the teams have and how they execute the same. We,on behalf of Female Cricket would like to wish all the teams the very best.
Until then we would like to present some stats before you –
Sangli based Smriti Mandhana, making a debut one dreams of, tops the list of run scorers with 421 runs to her name at an average of 60.14. Followed by her captain Heather Knight who has scored 334 runs in 10 games, Australian All Rounder Haynes has 307 runs to her name.
Taking 16 wickets each, Kirstie Gordon and Sophie Devine top the list of the highest wicket takers with the youngster from Scotland having an average of 11.38 and the latter having that of 13.88. Katie Thompson proving to be valuable where restricting the opponents is concerned, has an excellent economy rate of 4.50 and also impressive in the bowling department is Thompson’s teammate Katherine Brunt who is the only one to take a 5 wicket haul in the league and also maintaining a good economy rate of 5.43.