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Match Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network

Kate Cross hit a six and a four in the final over to deliver a thrilling last over five-wicket victory for the Thunder against Sunrisers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup at Blackpool.

The result leaves the Thunder in fifth place, four points behind Central Sparks who occupy the fourth qualifying spot but Sunrisers, who remain on 8 points, now face an uphill task to qualify for the playoffs.

It was an exciting finale after Sunrisers had posted 151 for nine after winning the toss, one run shy of their best total in this season’s competition, led by Lissy Macleod’s 60, while Sophie Ecclestone was the pick of the Thunder bowlers with three for 18.

Seren Smale was the batting hero for Thunder holding the middle of the innings together with an unbeaten 39, her best score in this competition, and late runs from Ecclestone and Cross were vital in clinching the win for the hosts who finished on 155 for five.

The Thunder started their run chase brightly, Fi Morris driving Nicola Hancock for six and striking three fours before she was run out for 25 off 11 balls. That was the first of two wickets falling for four runs after sub fielder Kate Coppack took a good diving catch off Sophie Munro to send back Emma Lamb for 14 with Thunder 43 for two in the seventh over.

Katie Mack and Smale steered Thunder to 69 at halfway and Aussie overseas player Mack had just upped the tempo with three fours when she was run out for 28 by a superb direct hit from long-on by Jo Gardner, with Thunder 93 for three in the 13th over needing 59 off 46 balls.

That looked to be a crucial blow, especially when Eva Gray bowled Ellie Threlkeld for two but Ecclestone and Smale kept Thunder in the hunt before play was halted by rain with the hosts on 123 for four needing 29 off 18 balls.

After a 25-minute delay, Ecclestone departed for 23 but Smale and Cross reduced the target to nine off the last over from Grace Scrivens.

Cross then delivered to clinch victory with three balls to spare.

Earlier, Mady Villiers hit the first ball she faced for six over midwicket off Tara Norris but perished for 11 in the second over when repeating the shot off Cross but instead finding Dani Collins on the deep midwicket fence.

Gardner and Macleod rebuilt swiftly with a 33-run partnership off 23 balls before the former was bowled for 14 after attempting an ambitious leg side scoop from Ecclestone’s third delivery.

It was the introduction of spin slowed the Sunrisers progress, Morris (two for 24) trapping both Scrivens (11) and Flo Miller (1) lbw in the same over to leave the visitors 72 for four at the halfway stage of the innings.  

When Ecclestone struck again in the following over after Jodi Grewcock pulled her first ball into the hands of Emma Lamb at midwicket, Sunrisers had lost three wickets for three runs in nine balls.

It was Macleod who held the innings together hitting seven fours in reaching her fifty from just 33 balls.

And she received great support from Amu Surenkumar who made a sprightly 31 off 23 balls as the pair hit out effectively to add 60 in exactly seven overs.

Thunder hit back by taking three wickets in three chaotic balls in the 18th over with MacLeod and Surenkumar both run out and Gray lbw first ball to Ecclestone. The visitors scrambled to get themselves past the 150-mark but it proved to be in vein.

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