Western Storm won the second Kia Women’s Super League after an explosive innings from Rachel Priest set up an easy seven-wicket victory over Southern Vipers.
In front of a 3,500 crowd at Hove, Priest became the tournament’s leading run scorer with 72 off 36 balls. Storm comfortably reached their target of 146 with 12 balls to spare in a repeat of last year’s final.
The New Zealander unleashed some powerful shots around the wicket with ten fours and three sixes, including a brutal assault on Linsey Smith in the final over of the powerplay. Priest hit four boundaries and a six in an over that cost 26 runs.
Priest overtook Vipers’ Suzie Bates as leading run-scorer when she reached 71 and although she was well caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Danni Wyatt in the tenth over, Storm only needed 52 and Stafanie Taylor, player of the match in their semi-final win over Surrey Stars, and Sophie Luff had little trouble in knocking off the runs, although Taylor had to bat with a runner after suffering a hamstring strain early in her innings. They shared an unbroken stand of 57 with Taylor clearing the long-on rope to win the game with a six.
Vipers appeared to have set a challenging total on a good pitch when they posted 145 for five after they were put in. Openers Suzie Bates and Hayley Matthews put on 47 in eight overs although both were dropped, with Bates reprieved on six and Matthews off the ball before she was athletically caught and bowled by West Indies team-mate Taylor, having struck six fours in her 31.
Bates came down the pitch to hit Jodie Dibble for a straight six and had moved ominously to 21 when Taylor trapped her leg before working across the line.
Georgia Adams went cheaply, but Vipers pushed on through England all-rounder Wyatt and Mignon du Preez, who added 37 in five overs. Wyatt (21) was superbly caught by Georgia Hennessy running in from long on and Dibble held a good catch at mid-off in the 18th over to end du Preez’ run-a-ball 31, but captain Charlotte Edwards rolled back the years at the end with a cameo of 20 from eight balls including boundaries off last three balls.
Edwards confirmed after the game that she would be retiring from playing cricket, but wouldn't be drawn on what her future held.
Earlier in the day, Western Storm made sure it would be a repeat of last year’s Kia Super League final by surviving a top-order collapse to beat Surrey Stars by three wickets in the semi-final.
After restricting Surrey to 100 for 7, Storm lost four top-order wickets for five runs in 10 balls as their run chase got off to a terrible start. But from the wreckage of 17 for four in the fourth over, they were led to victory by West Indies’ all-rounder Taylor, who made an unbeaten 37 to steer her side home with seven balls to spare.
Surrey had struggled to get any momentum after winning the toss. The pitch lacked pace and only Sophia Dunkley-Brown, with 30 from 33 balls, got to grips with the conditions and an accurate attack.
England opener Tammy Beaumont needed 17 deliveries to score three runs and later dropped Hennessy before she had scored while South African Lizelle Lee (10) and England all-rounder Sciver (10) failed to build on promising starts.
Anya Shrubsole picked up three wickets in the last over to finish with 3 for 22 and was well backed up by Storm’s spinners with Claire Nicholas, who took the new ball, the pick with one for 14.