Stafanie Taylor’s unbeaten 74 guided Western Storm to a thrilling five wicket victory over Surrey Stars in the Kia Super League at the Brightside Ground, Bristol.
Taylor, who dropped England star Natalie Sciver (90 not out) on two during the Surrey innings, put on an unbeaten 71 with Sophie Luff (21 not out) to see the Storm home in the final over of a remarkable game.
The Storm appeared dead and buried when Surrey, who hit 161 for six off their 20 overs, reduced the hosts to 17 for 3 in the fourth over. However, Taylor made up for her earlier error to earn the hosts a second victory in three games.
Having chosen to bat first, Surrey made a steady start thanks to England’s Tammy Beaumont and fellow opener Bryony Smith. However, having reached 19, Smith tried one expansive shot too many and was bowled by England’s Anya Shrubsole, for 19.
Beaumont and Cordelia Griffiths added 18 for the second wicket and Beaumont and Sciver 26 for the third before the former was finally out, for 13, run out by a smart piece of fielding from Taylor. Sciver, who was dropped by Taylor on 2 at deep square leg, batted with great purpose despite losing fourth wicket partner Marizanne Kapp, for two at 90 for four.
The Storm, who also came into the game having won one and lost one of their opening games, did their best to stem the tide and bowled well between overs 11 and 14. Unfortunately, they were made to pay dearly for Taylor’s slip in the deep as Sciver edged closer to 50. The gifted all-rounder finally reached her half century off 29 balls with nine fours and a six. With Beth Morgan, she added 29 for the fifth wicket, before Morgan gifted Freya Davies her second wicket at 119 for five in the 16th over.
Sciver continued to heap misery on Taylor, hitting the West Indian all-rounder for four successive boundaries in the 17th over as Surrey piled on the runs. In the end, Surrey reached 161 for 6 with Sciver unbeaten on a quite brilliant 90 off 45 balls with 16 fours and two sixes.
The Storm’s reply could not have got off to a worse start. Having hit seven off the opening over, they lost their first wicket when Rachel Priest was run out for seven at eight for one. Captain Heather Knight departed at 16 for two and when Fran Wilson was trapped leg before at 17 for three, the Storm’s chances appeared to have disappeared.
However, Taylor and Lizelle Lee joined forces to drag the hosts back into the contest. A combination of good running, some lusty blows and one or two poor pieces of fielding, contributed to a strong fourth wicket stand.
Lee was sublime. She struck two straight sixes into the Ashley Down Road flats before Taylor followed suit over mid wicket. Lee reached her 50 off 35 balls with eight fours and two sixes, but was out shortly after for 53, caught by Sciver off the bowling of Lea Tahuhu at 93 for four. It was soon 94 for five with Georgia Hennessey trapped lbw by Sciver.
Only then did the Storm come to life with Taylor and Luff hitting the ball to all four corners. Gradually they set off in pursuit of their target and with the help of some poor fielding and one or two dropped catches, they won the day in the final over during which Taylor struck two sixes and a four.
After the match Western Storm captain Heather Knight said: “We always knew that we had the batting power, so even at 94 for five we knew we could win it. It was a really good pitch so we felt we could catch up later in the innings, even if we lost wickets. All credit to the girls and we are really happy to get the win.”
“It was another great game and great to get over the line. Once we start bowling really well, I think we will be a really good side. Stafanie is a really chilled character and we knew she had that kind of innings in her. It was good to watch.
“We will have to improve for next Friday, but if we play well and win there, potentially we could get through. We are certainly looking forward to that because we got a great welcome down at the Cooper Associates County Ground last time.”
Western Storm will be looking to bounce back from Friday night’s narrow KIA Super League defeat at Loughborough when they take on the Surrey Stars at the Brightside Ground, Bristol today.
The Storm have now won one and lost one of their two matches in the competition and captain Heather Knight, who smashed the KIA Super League’s highest score so far on Friday, knows that the team need to get back to winning ways.
Ahead of the game Heather said: “Obviously we were all really disappointed to lose on Friday but I think that we showed some real fight to make such a close game of it. It’s really important that we now put in a good performance in Bristol and bounce back with a win.
“There’s only five games in this stage of the competition so every match is massive. There are no easy games and in T20 cricket it only takes one or two players to win you the match. That is the beauty of the tournament. Everyone is beating everyone else and it is going to be really close.
“Surrey have had a good win recently and they’ve got some really good players. Tammy Beaumont in particular is having a fantastic summer so we will need to have plans in place to keep her quiet.
“The Brightside Ground is one of my favourite places to play and we always have a good turn out there for our England games, so hopefully the stormtroopers will be out in force again on Sunday and we can put on a good show for them”.
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This match gets underway at 2:30pm