In a Women’s County Championship game earlier this year, Heather Knight was batting for Berkshire on her way to a match-winning century against Wales.
With around 10 overs remaining, the Required Rate was an easily manageable 5-an-over; and out in the middle, Knight was calm and confident – if 5 an over was what was required, 5 an over was what she was getting, and 5-an-over was what she would get!
But there was a problem: rain was threatening, and with Berkshire having lost 7 wickets, Knight figured correctly that they were probably behind on Duckworth-Lewis.
A “drink” was called for and Berkshire’s 12th was duly dispatched to the scorers box to determine exactly how far behind – the answer being around 10.
The following over was bowled by Claire Nicholas – Knight’s teammate at Western Storm, and no mug with the ball either. It went for 13. An over from Gabby Basketter was then sent for 10, before the charge was halted as suddenly as it had begun. With Duckworth-Lewis back in Berkshire’s court, Knight coolly resumed her 5-an-over service to see out the rest of the game towards Berkshire’s inevitable victory in the 48th over.
There is of course a difference between Division 2 of the Women’s County Championship and the Kia Super League Final; but apparently not much of one when you are Heather Knight!
In the 4 year history of the Super League, only one side – Yorkshire Diamonds last week against Southern Vipers – has ever successfully chased more than 172. (Though oddly, exactly 172 has now been chased 3 times.) But what’s history when you are Heather Knight? What’s 9-an-over, as the ask was at one stage?
Finishing on 78* off 53 balls, Knight made the KSL Final look like a picnic in the park, wrapping things up with a 4 off the last ball of the 19th over. She had help from Deepti Sharma at the back-end of the innings – her 39 not out was useful – but you got the impression that if Deepti had been 29 not out… or even 9… Knight would have still got her side over the line just the same.
It feels appropriate that in this final final, Knight became the only batsman to clock-up 1,000 runs in the KSL. Over these 4 years, she hasn’t ever been Player of the Tournament, she hasn’t made a century, and she’s a long way down the “Most Sixes” chart.
But what she has been is consistent, not just on a road at Hove, but on every other road too – like a Colossus over Roads, match after match, season after season, Heather Knight has bestrode the Super League.
The KSL has been her tournament.
The trophy has been her trophy.
And now, deservedly, she gets to keep it for ever.