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54th Match, Manchester, September 16, 2023, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
(46.4/50 ov, T:251) 254/5

Thunder won by 5 wickets (with 20 balls remaining)


Threlkeld-Dattani union leads Thunder to victory over Storm

Pair put on 177-run stand with Threlkeld unbeaten on 107 to end Thunder's season on a high

Ellie Threlkeld sets off for a run, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Lightning vs Thunder at, Loughborough, July 09, 2022

Ellie Threlkeld scored an unbeaten century  •  Getty Images

Thunder xxx (Threlkeld 107*, Dattani 82) beat Western Storm 250 for 7 (Smale 56, Luff 54, Corney 53, Bell 3-30, Heap 3-39) by five wickets
Thunder ended their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign with a five-wicket victory against Western Storm in an entertaining and spirited game at Emirates Old Trafford.
Half-centuries from Emma Corney, Sophia Smale and skipper Sophie Luff led Storm to 250 for 7 with Thunder spin duo Olivia Bell and Liberty Heap taking three wickets apiece.
In reply, Thunder captain Ellie Threlkeld and Naomi Dattani posted the highest-ever partnership of 177 for Thunder, with both players making career-best List-A scores of 107 not out and 82 respectively to chase down their target with 20 balls to spare.
Corney and Smale made the perfect start for the Storm after Luff won the toss, compiling a 98-run partnership across the opening 20 overs.
Corney, who played a confident range of shots on both sides of the wicket including a six over midwicket off Bell, reached an excellent 57-ball fifty but perished for 53 after hitting Bell to Tara Norris at long-on.
The introduction of Bell in the 14th over had started to apply the brakes to the Storm run-scoring and the off-spinner next bowled Fran Wilson for 24 to give Thunder some further relief.
Sophia Smale responded in fine fashion reaching her fifty off 77 balls before slicing a drive back to Bell who took a good diving catch to claim her third wicket. It was a sensational effort by Bell who bowled her ten overs in one spell that produced a return of 3 for 30, and the 19-year-old has now taken 25 wickets from her last eight Thunder outings.
Heap backed that up with a further three wickets to bring Thunder back into the game, bowling Niamh Holland for a duck and Nat Wraith for 8 with two sharply turning deliveries to have Storm 160 for 5 in the 35th over.
Heap (3 for 39) then broke a good 39-run partnership between Luff and Katie Jones when the latter top-edged a pull to Dani Collins at backward square leg for 16.
Luff, who had arrived at the crease at the fall of the second wicket, played a gem of an innings using all her experience to rotate the strike and keep the score moving steadily, and she next joined forces with Chloe Skelton in an enterprising partnership of 50 off 51 balls over the closing overs.
Visiting skipper Luff went to a 63-ball half-century in the penultimate over of the innings before falling in the last, caught for 54 off Norris with Skelton unbeaten on 21.
Chasing 251, the Thunder made a disastrous start to their reply losing three wickets for 17 runs inside eight overs.
Heap was run out without scoring, Seren Smale fell lbw to namesake Sophia for 3 who then held onto a good caught-and-bowled offering at the second attempt when Fi Morris drove back up the wicket having made 11.
Dattani and Threlkeld stopped the rot with a steadying partnership that initially added fifty inside 11 overs and the pair kept the momentum going, reaching the halfway point of the innings on 115 for 3 with 136 required.
Once established, the Thunder duo played their shots and ran cleverly putting the visitors under increasing pressure with both reaching fifties, Threlkeld from 54 balls and Dattani off 83.
It took a spectacular one-handed diving catch by Holland off her own bowling to break the partnership and dismiss Dattani, leaving Thunder on 194 for 4 and needing 57 off 67 balls.
Threlkeld expertly finished the job, reaching a fabulous century from 107 balls and getting good support from Laura Delaney (22) and Dani Collins (12 not out) before hitting her 14th boundary to win the game in the 47th over.

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