Both this morning’s semi-final and this afternoon’s final followed a similar pattern – the targets set (124 in the semi-final and 140 in the final) looked slightly light, as the chasing side got off to a strong start; but wickets offered a glimmer of hope for the defending team… only to see that hope fall away at the end.
The semi-final was maybe a little scrappy as nervous players batted with perhaps slightly less positivity than we might have expected – for the Lightning, only Ellyse Perry, and Thea Brookes coming in right at the end, posted strike-rates in excess of 100.
In reply, the Storm appeared to be cruising, but perhaps it was all looking a little too easy, as losses of concentration saw a mini-collapse with 3 wickets falling in 9 balls. With 4 balls left, Georgia Hennessy and Sophie Luff were both on 0 from 0 balls with the scores level. Hope. But thankfully for the Storm, Hennessy had the one shot in her, and kept her head to drive them into the final with a 4 through midwicket.
The final began quietly for the Storm – just 2 runs apiece from the first 2 overs, as Stafanie Taylor (later to be named Player of the Tournament) played it cool before looking to accelerate later on. Such a tactic, however, only works if you are still there to accelerate later on, and once the Storm lost Taylor the run rate began to slow and the momentum never really came, at least partly down to Arran Brindle bowling her 4 overs straight for just 15 runs.
Nevertheless, the Storm’s total of 140 was a deal more than had won the earlier game, so there was hope there, even as Charlotte Edwards and Suzie Bates reached 78 without loss. The Storm needed wickets badly and they got them, with Edwards and Bates falling in quick succession. Again, hope. But with Sara McGlashan and Lydia Greenway coming to the crease together, with over 400 international caps between them, the experience was there in spades to guide the Vipers home.
Afterwards Charlotte Edwards reflected on a summer that began in the most difficult circumstances with the loss of the England captaincy, but has ended with her lifting the Super League trophy:
“I’ve had to deal with quite a lot this summer but the girls have backed me 110%. You hope you get to Finals Day and then put in a performance like that. I think it’s been brilliant to be part of this group for the last 3 or 4 months and watch them grow and develop as players and people has been really special. I’m sure we’ll enjoy tonight celebrating what was a brilliant win.”