The key to this match was The County Ground at Taunton: not just the pitch, but the outfield. It made for a balanced game – the pitch had nothing in it for the bowlers; but the boundaries were long, and the outfield gave little away to the batsmen: the ball had to be well-struck if it was to cross the rope.
Batting first, the Vipers benefitted from some scrappy fielding from the Storm, with dropped catches and at least 6 missed run out opportunities. Suzie Bates made what has to be the “stealthiest” fifty of the competition so far – she didn’t look in particularly good nick and when the milestone came up on the scoreboard you felt like you wanted to double-check it was actually correct!
In a way, though, that’s the mark of a great player. She could probably have done with a bit more support, however – both McGlashan and Greenway batted at a strike rate of well under 100; and in the end that left the Vipers maybe 20-odd runs light.
Nevertheless, it looked at the break that if the Vipers could bowl smartly and field aggressively, they were in the driving seat, especially after the first two overs from Tash Farrant and Morna Nielsen went for just two miserly runs between them.
That it wasn’t to be was thanks of course to Stafanie Taylor, who was the only player to make batting look really easy today, finding the boundary 11 times – just one less than the Vipers’ entire 12-boundary innings! As Carla Rudd put it, speaking to CRICKETher after close of play: “There’s not a lot you can do when someone’s batting as well as that.”
Taylor herself, referencing those first two overs, reflected that the key was not to rush things early on:
“You just had to play yourself in a bit first and then as soon as you did that you could get the pace of the wicket and then you could actually play your shots.”
“The coach said to me that I should take my time and then as soon as I’m in I could play my shots, and when I started doing that the runs started coming. I think it was actually coming at a good time when the team needed it.”