The rain that fell in Taunton overnight and this morning may have negatively affected Sky’s coverage – those of us watching at home suffered no commentary for the first 3 overs and very poor image quality throughout – but it did set up an ideal game situation for Western Storm. Of all the teams in the competition, they have the batting firepower to flourish in a 6-over situation, and so it proved. Lightning fans can probably rightly feel slightly aggrieved that they haven’t had the chance to prove themselves properly against the defending champions.
For Storm, Smriti Mandhana is proving to have been a genius overseas “buy”, with 137 runs off 60 balls in the first 3 matches at a breathtaking strike rate of 228. A couple of stats from Hypocaust support the point:
By contrast the conservative batting of Rachael Haynes (who finished with 18 off 15 balls) ultimately cost Lightning the game. Going at a run a ball was never going to be enough in this situation. One almost felt that Lightning had lost the match before they even started their innings – Haynes isn’t known for her power-hitting and to see her walking out and even facing the first ball ahead of partner Sophie Devine smacked of uber-conservative decision-making. Devine did her damnedest, but even she couldn’t make the runs alone.
For Storm, credit should go to fast bowler Freya Davies, who captain Heather Knight entrusted with bowling 2 of their 6 overs. That trust was repaid handsomely – Davies kept it tight, and by conceding only 9 runs from her first over, turned the game hugely in Storm’s favour: one over like that and Lightning’s chances of chasing down the runs were already greatly reduced.
Finally, if you haven’t already, do have a watch of our review of week 1 of the KSL, recorded just before this match took place.