A blitz of boundaries from Rachel Priest knocked Surrey out for the count in their last ever home Super League fixture against Western Storm at Guildford.
Western Storm may have already qualified directly for the final, at the Sussex County Ground in Hove next weekend, but despite the blistering 32-degree heat there was no holding back from Priest, who reached 89 runs in 55 balls, hitting all-but 13 of those runs in boundaries, dominating a 97-run partnership with England captain Heather Knight.
Knight herself also went on to a half-century, as the Storm posted 171-4 at a ground where 140/ 150 has been a winning score over the course of this tournament.
“I had a bit of a lean start to the tournament so it is nice to be contributing at the top at the time that matters,” Priest told us after the game.
Indeed, having begun with scores of 12, 12 and 4, Priest is now the 3rd highest run-scorer of this KSL season with 331, behind Jemimah Rodrigues (341) and Danni Wyatt (362); and is currently also 2nd in the “All Time” KSL list with 908, behind only Heather Knight (980).
Priest could, and probably should, have gone on to record her 2nd KSL hundred today, but was philosophical about the missed opportunity.
“In the moment I was a little bit frustrated not to reach 100, just because it was a silly way to get out – it was a tired shot – but as long as we get across the line it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.”
The Storm were helped by a poor fielding performance from the Stars, who dropped 4 catches and let far too many runs past them in the outfield. This was in contrast to the Storm’s own performance in the field, which Priest believes has been crucial in their thus-far unbeaten season.
“Our powerplay bowling really helps – obviously if we get a good start with the batting that helps too, but it is the fielding that has been really, really good for us this year – our fielding has been phenomenal!”
With the Storm continuing to batter them, Surrey Stars crawled to 94 all out off 17.5 overs, including a 4fer for veteran all-rounder Sonia Odedra. It was possibly the poorest performance I’ve seen from a team playing in Surrey shirts… and I’ve seen the county side get bowled out for 25 in a T20 versus Middlesex!
There may be one round still to play, but with all 3 finalists now decided, after Southern Vipers held Yorkshire back enough to prevent them getting the bonus point they needed to keep their hopes alive, Rachel Priest and the Storm can now start to look forward to Finals Day, where they will meet either the Vipers or Loughborough Lightning in the final.
“We are the only team that’s made Finals Day every year, so that’s quite special,” said Priest. “It is always a fantastic day and a really great atmosphere, so hopefully things go well for us.”