Loughborough Lightning 135 for 4 (du Preez 38*) beat Yorkshire Diamonds 129 (Rodrigues 58, Matthews 2-19) by six wickets
Loughborough Lightning completed a third win in four matches to move ahead of Surrey Stars into third place in the Kia Super League, winning a low-scoring contest by six wickets with five balls to spare. South African star Mignon du Preez produced the match-winning innings for the second match running, following her 70 not out against Stars last week with an unbeaten 38 here, striking four sixes.
Indian teenager Jemimah Rodrigues top scored with 58 for the Diamonds, but a total of 129 all out from their 20 overs proved too little in the end, even though their bowlers did their best to defend it by taking the contest into the final over, England seamer Beth Langston conceding only 17 from her four overs.
Lightning took the upper hand early after Yorkshire had won the toss and opted to bat, the visitors losing both openers in the Powerplay overs in making 32. Lauren Winfield drove Jenny Gunn straight to Georgia Adams at mid-off before West Indies allrounder Hayley Matthews was rewarded for two tidy overs when Alyssa Healy holed out to deep midwicket, where Lucy Higham pouched a good catch after waiting for a towering shot to come down again.
Hollie Armitage, who had struggled against Matthews’s offbreaks in the Powerplay, fared no better against Kirstie Gordon, the left-arm spinner, whose sixth delivery bowled her, Diamonds reaching the halfway point at 55 for 3.
Rodrigues and Alice Davidson-Richards steadied the ship, adding 35 in six overs, but a breakdown in communications cost the latter her wicket after Rodrigues set off for a quick single off Gordon, Sarah Glenn’s throw from short backward square running the non-striker out comfortably.
The 18-year-old Rodrigues completed her half-century off 34 balls, having struck four boundaries, but lost another partner when Bess Heath miscued Bryce to mid-off before her fine innings ended when she found the hands of Matthews at deep midwicket.
She fell during a chaotic last two overs of the Diamonds innings, which saw 14 runs added but five wickets lost, three of them run out. In the midst of that, Matthews bowled Langston to finish with 2 for 19, her economy bettered only by Gordon, who took 1 for 14 from her four overs.
In reply, Lightning openers Matthews and Amy Jones picked up boundaries in five of the first six overs to be comfortably ahead of the game at 40 without loss, before Matthews missed one from legspinner Katie Levick that kept low.
A tight three overs by the lively left-armer Katie George put the brake on a little. Nonetheless, Lightning looked well placed at 58 for 1 at the halfway point, although they stumbled in the 13th over as Chamari Atapattu was run out and Jones caught behind off consecutive balls from Langston, leaving two new batsmen at the crease with 56 still needed.
The pressure was eased somewhat when George’s final over went for 14, including a six by du Preez over the longest boundary, leaving Lightning needed 34 off the final five overs, although du Preez had been given a let-off on 7 when George could not hold on to what would have been a good return catch.
Du Preez struck her second maximum off New Zealand offspinner Leigh Kasparek and a third off Levick, either side of ex-Lightning left-arm spinner Linsey Smith dismissing her former captain, Georgia Elwiss, finishing the match by clouting Smith for her fourth six from the first ball of the final over.