Heather Knight described it as “a good toss to lose”, no doubt aware that – as Hypocaust pointed out before play began – Storm have only batted first twice in all KSL games, and both times they lost. It was a scrabble, but they retained that record today. Stars, who seem to be reasonably confident both chasing and setting a total, might therefore have been better off putting their opponents in.
Stars might be able to rip through their opponents with an all-international bowling attack, but this tournament is also about discovering new talent, and there’s only one non-international who has opened the bowling for her side every single match this tournament: Claire Nicholas.* Today her captain, Heather Knight, showed the ultimate faith in giving her 4 straight powerplay overs, which went for just 14 runs. The Huddleston Experiment might not have worked – the Nicholas one certainly has.
Taylor had a miserable World Cup and that’s been followed by a fairly miserable Super League. Nonetheless, when her side needed her the most she did finally deliver, hitting 37* to take them over the line when at one stage they absolutely did look dead in the water. Even more impressively Taylor played in a way that isn’t her natural T20 game – acting as anchorwoman rather than bish bash boshing it around. Before today she had scores of 8, 34, 4 and 0 in the group games – all is now forgiven!
What we’ve seen in Super League is actually similar in some ways to what we see in the Women’s County Championship: once a side is 3 or 4 wickets down, they tend to struggle with the bat. That was true of both sides today, with the “big” stars dismissed early on – for Stars none of Tammy Beaumont, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp or Nat Sciver went on to make a big score; and Storm then found themselves 17-4 in the 4th over. It was just fortunate for Storm that Georgia Hennessy kept a calm head on her shoulders. Basically what this match proves is that a side that can – genuinely – bat deep will win most of their games, most of the time.
* To be fair to her, Linsey Smith did open the bowling for Vipers in 4 out of 5 group games, but missed the last match due to illness.