Reigning champions Southern Vipers are through to the final of this year’s competition after an unexpected end to the group stages of the Kia Super League.
Vipers did their bit by ending Yorkshire Diamonds’ hopes of joining them at Finals Day when they won by 30 runs at Arundel.
Meanwhile, Surrey Stars’ unexpected defeat to Loughborough Lightning meant Vipers overtook the Stars to finish top of the group. They will play the winners of Surrey’s clash with Western Storm at Finals Day at Hove next Friday.
Vipers made 138 for six after they were put in on a slow pitch.
Diamonds began their reply promisingly but from 31 without loss in the third over they collapsed horribly, losing five wickets for just four runs in 18 balls. Katherine Brunt top scored with 42 but they were bowled out for 108 in the 19th over.
For once Vipers’ batting fired without the prolific Suzie Bates. The New Zealander was brilliantly caught at long on for 12 in the fourth over by Sune Luus but her fellow overseas players made up for her rare early dismissal.
Opening partner Hayley Matthews scored 40 off 38 balls with three fours and two sixes, both struck cleanly down the ground, before Mignon du Preez went to her first half century in the tournament from just 35 deliveries.
The South African hit six fours as Vipers accelerated towards the end, scoring 37 in the final four overs.
Brunt hit eight fours to keep Diamonds in with a chance but when she was run out backing up too far by Bates’ deflection on to the stumps in the 17th over, Yorkshire’s race was run.
Storm secure final Hove spot
Rachel Priest smashed a blistering half century as Western Storm beat Lancashire Thunder by five wickets at Bristol to book the last remaining place at Finals Day.
The big-hitting New Zealand international raised 52 from 26 balls and dominated an opening stand of 60 with captain Heather Knight as Storm chased down a target of 123 with 2.5 overs to spare.
Their qualification for the finals at Hove next Friday was confirmed when news filtered through from Arundel that defending champions Southern Vipers had beaten Yorkshire Diamonds.
Having registered a superb hundred in a winning cause against Diamonds at York last weekend, Priest carried on where she left off, raising 50 from 22 balls and harvesting seven fours and three sixes in a whirlwind innings.
Knight, fellow England World Cup winner Fran Wilson and West Indies all-rounder Stafanie Taylor came and went in quick succession, while Priest departed in the eighth over, as Storm slipped to 73 for four. But Sophie Luff held her nerve to post an unbeaten 24 and calm fraying nerves as Storm reached their target without any further drama.
Beaten in all four of their previous outings, Thunder were determined to make amends by causing an upset against last season's losing finalists. Amy Satterthwaite and Emma Lamb certainly did their best to restore red rose pride in a revitalising stand of 69 in 12 overs for the fourth wicket as the visitors recovered from 41 for three to post 122 for five.
Experienced New Zealand international Satterthwaite seized the initiative, top-scoring with 44 from 41 balls and taking advantage of short boundaries to plunder five fours and a six.
She received staunch support from Lamb, who was prepared to rotate the strike and play second fiddle in an unbeaten knock of 30 from 43 deliveries.
Satterthwaite had a half century in her sights when when she took one liberty too many against the nagging accuracy of Freya Davies and succumbed to a smart stumping at the hands of Kiwi compatriot Rachel Priest in the penultimate over.
The pick of the bowlers, Davies returned figures of 2-24 from four overs, while Stafanie Taylor, Knight and Jodie Dibble took the pace off the ball to restrict scoring in the middle overs.
Lightning end Stars' winning streak
Loughborough Lightning produced an upset when they defeated the previously unbeaten Surrey Stars by 81 runs at The Kia Oval.
Surrey, needing 172, made a poor start when Tammy Beaumont was lbw to Kirsten Beams in the third over. And they suffered another big blow when their big-hitting South African opener Lizelle Lee, who had recorded a 44-ball 72 in the previous game against Western Storm, was caught on the deep square-leg boundary for just one.
When Marizanne Kapp lost her off stump to Ellyse Perry, Surrey were really up against it at 24 for three in the sixth over.
Natalie Sciver showed some fight when she hit Georgia Elwiss for three successive fours. But then she played on to Sarah Glenn for 24 off 18, and when Sophia Dunkley was bowled by Beth Langston and Laura Marsh was caught at deep square-leg – the three wickets falling in three overs – it really was all over for Surrey at 65 for seven in the 14th.
Lightning, who had lost three of their previous four games, had elected to bat first and lost their first wicket to the fourth ball of the innings when Sarah Glenn skied Laura Marsh to Rene Farrell at midwicket.
But fine attack innings by first Elyse Villani and then Perry lifted them to a formidable 171 for three.
Villani hit ten fours and three sixes in her 39-ball 71, and then fellow Australian Perry took over with four fours and four sixes in her unbeaten 68 off 53 deliveries.
Although their group-stage campaign ended with a loss, Stars still progress to Finals Day at the 1st Central County Ground, Hove on 1 September.
Keep up to date with Finals Day news and ticket info in our dedicated Kia Super League section.