STATS: KSL 2019 Bowling Rankings

As we’ve seen in previous years, because two-thirds of overseas picks are batsmen, the field is a little more open for English players to shine as bowlers in the Kia Super League.

Top of the tree this season was Freya Davies, who broke the record for a KSL season with 19 wickets. Although Davies narrowly missed out on the Player of the Tournament award after getting slightly tonked by Danni Wyatt and Suzie Bates in the final, she has made a strong case for inclusion in England’s plans for the winter leading up to the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next February.

Another player who will be hoping to make an appearance in Australia is leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, who lost her Southern Stars central contract earlier this year after falling behind Georgia Wareham in the pecking order. Wellington wasn’t even an original pick for the Vipers – coming in as a late replacement for Sophie Molineux – but she made a real impact to rank second with 15 wickets at 6.85.

Like Wellington, No. 3 ranked Tash Farrant also lost her central contract this year; but since then has won the County Championship with Kent and has had her best KSL season yet for the Vipers, taking 14 wickets at 6.62. There probably isn’t a way back into England colours for Farrant in the short term, but her signature must now surely be one of the most hotly contested amongst the non-international players for The Hundred next season.

Sophie Ecclestone, ranked No. 4, of course needs no introduction; but the name at No. 5 might: Sarah Glenn is a young leg-spinner who doesn’t turn it a mile, but bowls intelligently – adjusting her length and flight to keep the batsmen on their toes. Glenn finished the season with 11 wickets at 6.05 – the joint-second best Economy Rate in KSL 2019, behind only Marizanne Kapp (at 5.34) for bowlers who delivered more than 5 overs – and it will be interesting to see if she can push on next season, with England looking to add some variety to their bowling attack, which is currently heavy on right-arm seamers and left-arm orthodox spinners.

Player Matches Wickets Economy
1. Freya Davies (Western Storm) 11 19 6.43
2. Amanda-Jade Wellington (Southern Vipers) 11 15 6.85
3. Tash Farrant (Southern Vipers) 10 14 6.62
4. Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire Thunder) 10 12 6.43
5. Sarah Glenn (Loughborough Lightning) 11 11 6.05
6. Kirstie Gordon (Loughborough Lightning) 10 11 6.05
7. Dane van Niekerk (Surrey Stars) 8 12 6.95
8. Claire Nicholas (Western Storm) 10 12 7.02
9. Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm) 10 13 7.93
10. Jenny Gunn (Loughborough Lightning) 11 10 6.71
11. Hayley Matthews (Loughborough Lightning) 9 9 6.14
12. Deepti Sharma (Western Storm) 11 9 6.62
13. Leigh Kasperek (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 10 7.46
14. Katie Levick (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 8 6.19
15. Kate Cross (Lancashire Thunder) 10 11 8.57
16. Stafanie Taylor (Southern Vipers) 6 8 6.26
17. Laura Marsh (Surrey Stars) 8 10 8.22
18. Katherine Bryce (Loughborough Lightning) 9 8 6.58
19. Emma Lamb (Lancashire Thunder) 10 10 8.32
20. Alice Davidson-Richards (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 10 9.54

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

STATS: KSL 2019 Batting Rankings

Player of the Tournament Danni Wyatt heads this season’s KSL Batting Rankings, with not only the most runs, but also the highest Strike Rate among the leading batsmen. (Overall, only Surrey Stars’ Eva Gray had a higher Strike Rate – exactly 200, having hit 8 off 4 balls faced in the tournament.)

Wyatt’s effortless 100 versus the Stars at Arundel was a personal highlight of 2019, though I’m told I might have changed my mind had I seen Jemimah Rodrigues match-winning 112 for the Diamonds against the Vipers at York. Rodrigues started the campaign slowly, with scores of 4, 20 and 2; but found her feet to finish second in the rankings with over 400 runs, including two 50s in addition to that 100. Interestingly, she did so despite hitting only three 6s, compared to Wyatt’s 18 – the joint lowest (with Smriti Mandhana) of any of the top 10 batters.

Rachel Priest, at No. 3, continued to make her case for a New Zealand recall for the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia early next year. It would obviously be a short-term move – Priest is 97 years old. [Ed: I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, isn’t it?] But if they want to be in with a shout of actually winning the thing, they’d do it!

Just two non-internationals made the top 20 – Holly Armitage and Georgia Adams – though there were four more between 21 and 30: Sophie Luff (23), Emma Lamb (24), Maia Bouchier (29) and Ellie Threlkeld (30). Among the recent batting debutantes things were actually worse, with none of Sophia Dunkley, Bryony Smith or Alice Davidson-Richards even making the top 30. Batting depth remains a continued worry for England and it is hard to look on these numbers and argue that the KSL has really succeeded in its initial aim of “bridging the gap” in that department.

Player Matches Runs SR
1. Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers) 11 466 166.42
2. Jemimah Rodrigues (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 401 149.62
3. Rachel Priest (Western Storm) 11 365 145.41
4. Heather Knight (Western Storm) 11 392 111.36
5. Fran Wilson (Western Storm) 11 298 138.6
6. Mignon du Preez (Loughborough Lightning) 11 267 147.51
7. Smriti Mandhana (Western Storm) 11 268 137.43
8. Amy Jones (Loughborough Lightning) 11 309 114.86
9. Alyssa Healy (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 248 135.51
10. Lizelle Lee (Surrey Stars) 9 213 148.95
11. Sarah Taylor (Surrey Stars) 8 260 120.93
12. Harmanpreet Kaur (Lancashire Thunder) 10 261 113.47
13. Nat Sciver (Surrey Stars) 9 233 120.72
14. Stafanie Taylor (Southern Vipers) 6 205 134.86
15. Tammy Beaumont (Southern Vipers) 11 239 110.64
16. Suzie Bates (Southern Vipers) 11 246 99.19
17. Thalia McGrath (Lancashire Thunder) 10 219 105.28
18. Holly Armitage (Yorkshire Diamonds) 10 233 96.28
19. Georiga Adams (Loughborough Lightning) 11 169 113.42
20. Georgia Elwiss (Loughborough Lightning) 10 171 108.91

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

NEWS: Venues And Player Selection Process Announced For Women’s Hundred

The ECB have this morning confirmed that the Women’s Hundred teams will be based at different venues to their male counterparts, in an effort to further grow the game outside of the 8 stadia where the men will be playing.

The women’s teams will play one double-header per season alongside the men but otherwise will play at smaller grounds, as follows:

MEN’S VENUE PAIRED WOMEN’S VENUE(S)
Sophia Gardens The Bristol County Ground
The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton
Edgbaston Blackfinch New Road, Worcester
Emerald Headingley York CC
South Northumberland CC
Lord’s The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
The County Ground, Northampton
Kia Oval The County Ground, Beckenham
Emirates Old Trafford TBC
Trent Bridge The Pattonair County Cricket Ground, Derby
The Fischer County Ground, Leicester
Ageas Bowl The 1st Central County Ground, Hove

This makes sense in the context of the ECB’s strategy of playing England matches at smaller grounds like Chelmsford and Hove which are more likely to fill up. It is also good news for counties like Somerset and Kent, who both lost out in the “bidding” process to run a Hundred franchise, but will this way be represented in the competition by virtue of hosting a women’s side.

However, some of the grounds on the list do not have the capacity to host broadcast facilities, thus confirming that at least some of the matches in the Women’s Hundred will not be televised.

In addition, the ECB have also confirmed that there will NOT be a draft for the women’s competition, but that players will be selected in a two-phase process.

Initially, between September 1 and September 30, each team will sign two centrally contracted England players. Then, between October 1 and May 30, teams will sign their remaining 13 players from across three different player pools – the remaining England Women’s centrally contracted players, overseas players and domestic players.

Each team can sign a maximum of 3 overseas players.

The player selection process is therefore already underway: CRICKETher understands that several England players have already been approached with offers. The first signings should be announced in the next few weeks.

KSL Final: Heather Knight – A Colossus Over Roads

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.

KSL: Vipers v Lightning – Jones Lack Of Jitters Wins The Day For Lightning

In a precursor to Sunday’s semi-final, it was Loughborough Lightning who finished on top in the last ever KSL match to be played at the “Snake Pit” (aka the Ageas Bowl), by 36 runs.

Lightning’s win came largely thanks to the platform laid down by Amy Jones and Chamari Atapattu, the pair reaching 74 without loss in the first 9 overs before Atapattu was clean bowled by Suzie Bates for 35.

Up to that point Jones had been content to let her more fiery partner do most of the big-hitting, but having settled into her stride she was able to push on, slogging away through the leg side and hitting a couple of maximums down the ground.

“It is definitely crucial to build that platform. At times I feel like “I’m going too slow”, but luckily Attu hits the ball so hard and gets off pretty quickly. That definitely helps. Sticking in and knowing you can catch up later is key,” Jones said.

“I feel like I’m starting a bit slower, but it’s not really been a problem as long as I keep my head and don’t throw it away. That’s been one of the key learnings from the Ashes is you have time – it’s amazing what a bit of pressure can do to you, all of a sudden you feel like third ball you have to play a big shot. I feel a lot more in control and confident to build an innings throughout.”

Despite the loss of Georgia Elwiss and Mignon du Preez in successive balls in the 17th over, the fact that Lightning still had a “set” batsman at the crease made all the difference – Jones adding 37 runs across the final 3 overs of the innings. 

In so doing she helped her side rack up the highest ever KSL total at the Ageas Bowl, while she herself reached her highest score in the competition, finishing unbeaten on 74* (53 balls).

The contrast with the way Southern Vipers approached their chase was marked – the loss of their “big three” inside the powerplay overs (Bates, Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont) – with Wyatt in particular doing herself in by plopping the first ball she faced straight into the hands of point – effectively ended any chances they had of reaching their target. Fi Morris batted bravely towards the denouement, her nifty 36 showcasing just how much her batting has improved in the past 12 months, but she was left with far too much to do.

Ahead of Finals Day on Sunday, Jones said that the win was crucial:

“I think it’s big. Everyone talks about momentum in competitions, especially going into finals. It will definitely give us a lift. Everyone in the changing room is up, and pretty excited, so it will definitely help.”

What is perhaps more significant is the fact that Lightning were able to achieve the victory without two of their key players, with both Hayley Matthews (West Indies) and Kathryn Bryce (Scotland) now recalled to their national sides.

“That’s another reason why this game was so important to us,” Jones added. “It shows the depth that we’ve got. That definitely adds to the win today.”

Vipers and Lightning have been on very different trajectories this tournament – Lightning lost 3 out of their 4 opening games but have now won 6 on the trot; while Vipers won their first two matches but have ended up on the wrong side in 3 of their 4 final encounters – so it is going to be fascinating to see who steals the last glory in the semi-final come Sunday.

MATCH REPORT: Diamonds v Vipers – Rodrigues’ Class Propels Diamonds To Last-Gasp Victory

Richard Clark at York Cricket Club

Yorkshire folk, given any opportunity, will tell you their county is special.  That may or may not be true.  If it’s not, though, there was certainly ‘something’ in the Yorkshire air on Sunday afternoon.

Whatever that ‘something’ was it carried Ben Stokes on its wings, and 30 miles or so away in York it carried Yorkshire Diamonds’ Jemima Rodrigues as well.

The prospects were as promising for the Indian youngster as they appeared to be for Stokes.  Propelled out of the blocks by Danni Wyatt (42 off 20 balls), kept going by Suzie Bates (47 off 39) and Tammy Beaumont (33 off 29), and finished off by Maia Bouchier (23* off 13) and Amanda Jade Wellington (24* off 12), Southern Vipers had just amassed 184-4 off their 20 overs.

This after being inserted by Lauren Winfield, who knew that it was her side’s only hope of claiming the bonus point win essential to any lingering hopes of reaching Finals Day.

Convention has it that you need a good start in a hefty chase.  What you definitely don’t need is to lose one of your openers to the second ball, Winfield skying Tash Farrant high to the inrushing Bates at cover.

Every cloud, however…

The early loss brought Rodrigues to the crease.  Her first KSL campaign had begun quietly, but 178 runs in her previous four innings – for just twice out – suggested a player in form, and she set about illustrating that.

With Alyssa Healy dominating both the strike and the scoreboard, Rodrigues settled quietly.  A dot, followed by a single, and then a boundary from her first three balls, and she was off and running almost without being noticed.

By the end of the fourth over she had still only faced those three balls, but now Healy was out, and Hollie Armitage was there for company.  Time to step up.

A boundary in the fifth over, two more in the sixth, another in the seventh.  But this was calculation and precision, rather than muscle.  The partnership with Armitage would garner 90 runs from 54 balls, only eleven of them dots and three of those from Armitage’s first four balls as she played herself in.  Orchestrated by Rodrigues, the pair found the gaps and pushed the ones and twos, always keeping the scoreboard moving.  An object lesson in T20 batting.

Armitage fell with the score on 118.  By that stage, Rodrigues had reached her half-century from 26 balls.  Nine fours had been hit, every one of them off the middle of the bat.

So far, so good, but could she deal with a crisis?  Bess Heath departed second ball, and the Alice Davidson-Richards in the next over.  Diamonds batting order has not been noted for its durability this season but in Leigh Kasperek, Rodrigues now found an able accomplice.

Five boundaries, including her only six, came off the next two overs.  Lofted effortlessly over mid-off it cleared the rope by a distance.  Four overs to go, and from nowhere only 36 required.

Now it began to get a bit tricky.  With Rodrigues visibly tiring in the 30-degree heat, Vipers returned to their pace bowlers in an attempt to give her the “hurry up”.  It worked to a point – after a boundary off Bell’s first ball, only seven runs came from the next eight balls.

Then, the shot of the day, and probably the only one Rodrigues played that could be considered in any way unconventional – an inadvertent head-high full toss from Farrant upper-cut over the keeper for four more.  Given that singles by this point were being run as if wading through treacle in boots of lead, the clarity of mind to deal with the delivery so adeptly was remarkable.  It took her to 96.

More singles, and perhaps a stroke of luck?  Another full toss – this time from Bell – perhaps did take her by surprise a little and was slapped/slogged high to Paige Scholfield at mid-off.  Already, though, the umpire’s arm was out for the no ball and instead of walking off Rodrigues ran through to move to 99.

Bell went on to complete a hat-trick of sorts, having Kasperek “stumped” off the subsequent free hit, and then legitimately caught next ball.  Rodrigues was still one short of her century and Diamonds needed 15 off ten balls as Linsey Smith strode to the middle.

Having crossed with Kasperek, Rodrigues reached her century with the simplest of pushes into the off side, calling Smith through for the single to spark a prolonged standing ovation from all corners.

The job was still there to be done, though.  Four more runs were taken from the remainder of the over and Diamonds needed ten off six, with Rodrigues on strike and Bates set to bring all her experience to bear with ball in hand.

It needed at least one boundary, not least because one doubted Rodrigues’ ability now to run up and down ten times, and she found it from the second ball of the over, turning the ball behind square and beating the fielder on the rope.  Not for the first time, awareness and perfect placement coming to the fore.

Still, a dot followed, and it was down to four from three.  Rodrigues manoeuvred the ball to long on and looked to be settling for the single until Smith, realising the need for her partner to get back on strike, virtually implored her to come back for the second.  Logic said the England spinner should have been going for the danger end, but Vipers were alert to Rodrigues’ exhaustion and threw to the keeper.  I don’t know how Rodrigues got there, it’s likely she doesn’t know either, but as she sprawled head-long for the crease the one man whose opinion mattered said she did.

It would have been appropriate – romantic, even – to finish with a boundary, but a single was all she could find, so it fell to Smith to push the final ball of the match up to mid-on where a fumble allowed the run that settled the game and brought more applause, and this time cheers too.

The numbers say that Rodrigues hit 112 not out off 58 balls, with 17 fours and a six.   She led her team to a four-wicket win, the highest successful chase in KSL records and the second highest chase in ANY Women’s T20 fixture.

Her score was the second-highest individual score in the KSL’s four seasons (behind Bates’s 119 for Vipers v Lightning in 2017), and at 51 balls it was the quickest of the six centuries scored in the competition (four balls faster than the previous record held by Lizelle Lee).

It was also the second highest individual score by any player in a Women’s T20 chase, behind Wyatt’s 124 for England in India 18 months ago, the only higher successful chase.

She played just ten dot balls, and not once did she play two consecutively.  She scored off 30 of the last 34 balls she faced.

But numbers alone never tell a story.

She didn’t hit the ball, she persuaded, cajoled and caressed it so that it did as she wished at every turn.   The way she seemed to move from 50 to 90 in particular, almost without hitting a shot in anger, yet still accumulating fours and scoring at close to two runs per ball, was akin to a conjuring trick.

Apart from the two no balls that produced the upper-cut and the ‘slap’ that saw her caught she didn’t play one shot that didn’t come straight from the coaching manual.  Her driving through the off-side was magisterial, her ability to pierce the in-field and bisect the boundary-riders on either side forensic, her knack of picking up a run almost every ball uncanny, her maturity and focus when patently running on fumes admirable.

Oh, and by the way, Jemima Rodrigues is 18 years old.

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Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

Thanks to @_hypocaust for the stats!

MATCH REPORT: Carlton Romp To Victory In Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup Final

Jake Perry reports

——

Carlton 126 for 3 (R Willis 60, F Gardee 2 for 6) beat McRea West of Scotland 85-7 (R Hawkins 34, G Henderson 2 for 14) by 41 runs

Carlton claimed the Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup after an imposing all-round display in the Final against McRea West of Scotland. A magnificent partnership of 106 between Ruth Willis and Abbi Aitken-Drummond, backed by two wickets each for Samantha Haggo and Georgia Henderson, was enough to take their team to a comfortable 41-run victory in Stirling.

Carlton had begun the day by posting 180 for 3 in their 136-run Semi-Final win over George Watson’s College, but on the expansive lower pitch at New Williamfield runs initially proved harder to come by. West of Scotland opening bowlers Rachel Hawkins and Faatima Gardee conceded only 10 between them from the first three overs, and when Heather Tait (7) was bowled by Gardee off the second ball of the fourth, Carlton, at 10 for 1, were in need of a foothold on the game.

It came via the experienced Scotland pair of Aitken-Drummond and Willis. Although the deep-set boundary and slow outfield made the rope difficult to find in the early stages of the innings – a terrific lofted drive over the top from Aitken-Drummond providing a notable exception – the two set about building the total with a fine display of running between the wickets.

Willis, fresh from her unbeaten 80 in the Semi-Final, was in excellent touch again as she raced past 30 in a combination of twos and threes, while Aitken-Drummond began to find the boundary with more regularity, bringing up the fifty partnership with a towering six over deep backward square off the last ball of the tenth. With Carlton 63 for 1, it was now West of Scotland who were feeling the pressure.

Still the runs came, and in the 15th over Willis brought up her second half-century of the day with a crunching drive to the rope past mid-off. Both perished before the end – Willis (60) lbw to Maryam Faisal (1 for 7) and Aitken-Drummond (41) was bowled – but Carlton’s closing total of 126 for 3 looked above par nevertheless.

Not that West of Scotland had been left without hope. A half-century from Rachel Hawkins had proved the difference in their Semi-Final win over Stirling County, and the Scotland all-rounder was fast out of the blocks again as she took 12 from the first over. Three quick wickets in the third and fourth put the batting side on their heels, however, and when Hawkins herself fell, caught by Heather Tait off the bowling of Georgia Henderson for 34, it struck a blow from which they would never recover.

The West’s remaining batters fought hard, Maryam Faisal leading the way with a battling 14, but victory was confirmed to give the Edinburgh side victory in the showpiece knock-out event for the third time in their history.

“I’m just delighted for everyone in the team to be honest,” said winning captain Ruth Willis. “It’s been a really hard season, much of which has been played without our Scotland players, and it’s so pleasing to see the team come through and do well.”

“It’s a real testament to the hard work that our coach Caleb Whitefoord and interim captain Ellie Hird have put in throughout the year, and a huge part of our victory today is down to them. It’s fantastic for the girls and you can see how delighted they are.”

In the Third Place Play-Off, Becky Glen’s 41 and an unbeaten 37 from Lois Wilkinson helped Stirling County chase down 124 against George Watson’s College with more than four overs to spare to add the finishing touches to a day which was a tremendous advertisement for women’s cricket in Scotland.

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Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket