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.
A cracking day at the Hove County Ground. It was a shame that a few vacant seats were visible. The girls/ ladies produced two good, well contested games involving excellent run chases. The Vipers were in control in the final until a few loose overs put the ball firmly into Storms court. Tammy Beaumont must have been a bit frustrated as two or three bowlers lost their line, length and control cutting a required run rate of nearly 10 to around 6 in the space of three overs.
Great batting from Wyatt and Knight gracing the final KSL match.
Was the four year competition a success? Probably. Did it bring on a big number of young, home grown talent? Questionable.
When the up and coming 100 was mentioned in the after match interviews it was roundly booed by a section of the supporters.
However, we shall have to wait and see!
I watched all the matches that were available whether on Sky or on live stream. Lack of live stream and sometimes streams with no commentary, engagement and information of it on social media etc were disappointing. It’s obviously not comparable to WBBL on that regard. The cricket on the other hand didn’t lack standard or lack of trying, obviously domestic players had their flaws and sometimes lacked in skills. Teams weren’t balanced and someone like Brunt missing out hampered a team like Diamonds. But despite all this it was an enjoyable experience would have liked the tournament to evolve into something like WBBL4 may be by 3 or 4 more seasons of KSL. Among the England players who are not regulars most impressive ones obviously were from Western Storm, but even players from misfiring Lancashire impressed as an option for England going forward. Wilson, Davies, Luff, Nichols, Bell, Wong, Lamb, Threlkeld, Adams and Glenn were impressive. They all probably could be an option for England going forward. Even the like of Odera, Levick, Armitage etc who won’t be up for selection but form important crux of domestic cricket are going to be crucial for the growth of the game in England.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Another fantastic finals day and not just because I support Storm. Two games that went to the wire with a lot of very good cricket. A few thoughts:
Firstly, I can see why you guys have been hyping Lauren Bell. Those first two overs, she had two established internationals in all sorts of trouble. She is very raw at this stage (possibly suffering from fatigue with the back to back games) but with the right coaching, she could be a superstar.
Loughborough under performed in all aspects of the game, lost key wickets at the wrong time, bowled poorly especially in the powerplay and their fielding was by far the weakest of the three teams.
The two games showed the strengths and limitations of the Vipers. The top three were excellent but as soon as they were all gone, their middle order struggled although Amanda-Jade Wellington and Paige Schofield managed the semi final chase superbly.
Dani Wyatt was outstanding. She hits the ball so cleanly and there were a couple of occasions when she went for a certain shot, saw the length wasn’t right and was still able to adjust and score runs. She looked absolutely gutted when Charles Dagnell interviewed after the game.
Echoing the comments about Heather Knight. She struggled a bit at the start but once she got in, she paced the chase perfectly. No sign of panic, hitting the bad ball, running the singles and trusting that Deepti Sharma could bring it home. I still don’t think she gets the credit she deserves as a bat, her consistency is incredible and it was fitting that she hit the winning runs.
Every stepped up for the Storm at some point. All of the top 6 made crucial runs at some point in the campaign and while Freya Davies had an off day with the ball, Anya Shrubsole, Claire Nicholas and Sharma did a good job off pulling the Vipers back after their fast side not to mention Sonia Odedra’s crucial intervention to remove Suzie Bates.
So disappointing that this is the last KSL, but it’s been a good four years. It’s a shame it can’t still exist in some form.
A fantastic day, and it was great to watch 2 nervy and tense matches, that became pretty close near the end. All 3 teams gave a good account of themselves I thought. Even Lightning who were on the wrong side of a few important moments, fought hard to stay in the game.
In the final, Wyatt’s marvellous innings seemed match-winning at the time, but you’re right Syd – Knight’s knock was probably just better, and perfectly judged. There were a few moments in the chase when I thought Storm might be wavering, but they were always well in the game and the rate was never unmanageable. It was a brilliant overall performance.
After the terrific start Vipers made I was fearing for Storm a bit. The total should have been near 200 seeing as they were 134/1 with 6 overs left. Sharma’s innings was wonderful and helped cement the victory, and her impact in the game can’t be ignored, as she bowled the 15th over which saw 2 vital wickets fall, and triggered the start of Vipers’ decline. Having said that, seeing as Storm they had an over spare in their chase I do think she could have got a few less and it wouldn’t have mattered. In the end, Storm’s middle order were just a bit stronger than Vipers’.
And Shrubsole – who hasn’t had the best of summers, certainly lived up to her reputation as a big game player and came good in the final with 2/26 – the pick of the bowling figures. Storm’s bowlers just looked a little more disciplined and experienced, although a few still went for plenty of runs. Davies, on the receiving end of Wyatt’s fury for her first 3 overs, came back with an impressive boundary-free penultimate over for example.
Such a shame to see this perfectly good competition ditched next year.
When I’ve seen Heather Knight bat on TV or via livestream, it’s mostly been for Tasmania in the WBBL, where she’s usually needed to bat through and hold the innings together, given Tasmania have generally been one of the weaker teams. So I had grown to think of her as a nudger and accumulator – this innings showed she has a range of other gears!
Not many KSL games were shown on TV here in NZ, and I missed most of those :-(, but I did catch a few over each of Lauren Bell’s and Issy Wong’s bowling. Of the two, Issy Wong was the one whose bowling made me want to watch more – just as when I saw Shabnim Ismail bowl for the first time and thought “That’s quick!”. But Lauren Bell’s height could make her an invaluable asset for England.