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    Mack and Morris led Thunder to victory over the Sunrisers
Mack and Morris led Thunder to victory over the Sunrisers
Katie Mack celebrates after reaching her century. Source: Lancashire Cricket

Mack and Morris led Thunder to victory over the Sunrisers

In a display of skill and determination, Australian Katie Mack and a record-breaking partnership of 191 runs for the third wicket propelled Lancashire Thunder to a commanding 142-run victory over Sunrisers at Emirates Old Trafford in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Despite losing their opening game in the competition by nine wickets to Northern Diamonds, Thunder demonstrated no apparent hangover from that error-strewn performance. Mack and third-wicket partner Fi Morris, who hit 89, took the hosts to a daunting total of 292 for 5 before Sunrisers were bundled out for just 150 in reply.

With Saturday's loss still fresh in the memory, Thunder would have been forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu when opener Emma Lamb fell early, mistiming a pull shot to Maddy Villiers at midwicket off Kate Coppack for 5. Things got worse when Seren Smale missed a full, straight one from Jodi Grewcock to be bowled for 21 and leave the hosts 32 for 2.

In contrast to the previous match, Thunder demonstrated resilience in the face of early setbacks, with Mack and Morris leading a remarkable recovery effort. The partnership was characterised by inventiveness, skill and excellent running between the wickets. The duo effectively prevented the Sunrisers spinners from establishing any kind of rhythm.

Mack's innings was characterised by a variety of shots, including ramps, sweeps, and late cuts. Morris frequently walked down the pitch to meet the spinners' deliveries, combining finesse and power to great effect.

Mack reached her half-century in 67 balls, with Morris passing hers in 66. This brought the pair's partnership beyond 100 runs and into record-breaking territory.

Eventually, Morris was dismissed by the returning Coppack, who trapped her lbw for 89. The damage had already been done, and the stand was the second-highest for any wicket by any side in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Mack reached her century in a timely manner, shortly after, with a characteristic late cut to the boundary. She was subsequently stumped off Villiers for 100, her fourth century in List A cricket.

The stage was set for Ellie Threlkeld and Sophie Ecclestone to make an impact, and they extended the score to 285 before the England spinner was caught at long on for a breezy 24, which contained two sixes and helped Thunder reach their highest score in the competition as they closed on 292 for 5 with Threlkeld unbeaten on 26.

Faced with a challenging target and the return of Ecclestone and Kate Cross, the task always appeared daunting for Sunrisers. Cross immediately demonstrated her ability to perform under pressure, producing five overs for just eight runs and the wicket of Ariana Dowse, caught by Lamb at short midwicket for 10.

At the other end, Sunrisers captain Grace Scrivens was experiencing difficulties and had reached just 9 off 46 balls when she skied one to bowler Hannah Jones, resulting in the score becoming 36 for 2. This was later increased to 36 for 3 after Cordelia Griffith departed for 11, following another caught and bowled for Ecclestone.

The much-anticipated partnership between Mady Villiers and Amara Carr did not materialise for the visitors, with both players being dismissed by Morris and Ecclestone as the run rate continued to climb.

The only positive for Sunrisers was Grewcock, who remained unbeaten on 38 as she and Florence Miller compiled 50 runs for the sixth wicket before the former was bowled by Jones and the latter edged Phobe Graham behind for 19.

Ecclestone picked up her third wicket when Nicola Hancock was caught on the boundary by Norris for 15 runs. Her England teammate Cross then dismissed Joanne Gardner for six runs and Coppack without scoring, ending with 3 for 21 off 8.1 overs. This was despite the fact that Sunrisers failed to score a run off the bat off the last 30 balls of the innings.

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