Thursday, 18 August 2016

KSL Finals Day Preview

So after 15 games the Southern Vipers have made their way safely through to Sunday's final (3pm), where they will meet the winner of the semi-final game played between the Western Storm and the Loughborough Lightning (11am). It should be an intriguing day.

In the league games the only game that the Western Storm lost was by five runs to the Lightning, but they comprehensively beat the Vipers by eight wickets down at Taunton (the Vipers' only defeat). In their last league game the Vipers beat the Lightning comfortably by 59 runs, to inflict their second defeat in five games (they also lost to the Thunder). Just by virtue of the fact that they are already in the final the Vipers will probably be most people's favourites to win the competition, but whoever wins out of the Storm and the Lightning, will have had first-hand knowledge of the pitch and will be ready to play the final. Many think this could be a huge advantage.

The bottom line is that this is a T20 competition and anything could happen. Hopefully Essex will have prepared a good fast wicket, which allows the girls to score plenty of runs. Earlier in the summer England racked up 170/5 against Pakistan on this ground. Interestingly only four members of the England team that played that night have made it to Finals Day - Heather Knight and Fran Wilson (WS), Amy Jones (LL) and Tash Farrant (SV).

On paper the Lightning probably have the longest batting line-up, with a team that is stuffed full of all-rounders. They have dangerous batsmen all the way down to nine and it only takes one to come-off for the Lightning to put a decent score on the board. Top run-scorers are Ellyse Perry (126) and Dane van Niekerk (112). Lightning opened up by scoring 128 against the Diamonds, and then scored 158, 158 and 168 in their next three games, before they were bowled out for just 97 by the Vipers at the Ageas Bowl. Skipper Georgia Elwiss has used seven bowlers with Becky Grundy topping the wicket-takers (8) and Sonia Odedra (5.81) the economy ratings, ahead of internationals van Niekerk, Elwiss, Perry and Devine.

The Storm have used the same eleven players for all five games played so far, with six bowlers sharing the workload. Anya Shrubsole and Stafanie Taylor (8) are the leading wicket takers, and Shrubsole (5.42) is only just behind Heather Knight (5.4) in the economy stakes. Taylor also has the small matter of 220 runs to her name (14, 9, 74*, 78*, 45), with Knight on 141 next in the list. After slow starts Lizelle Lee and Rachel Priest have also chipped in with 50s to their names. Heather Knight is yet to win a toss for the Storm, who have batted second in every game they have played to date, but they have proved they are good chasers.

The Vipers have used 14 players out of what has turned out to be a 16 player squad. Linsey Smith was allowed to play as a temporary replacement against the Thunder, despite the Vipers having 12 fit members in their squad at the time, and was then added as a full replacement for the injured Daisy Gardner. She has spun herself to the top of the Vipers' wicket-takers (8) at 4.33 runs per over, ahead of Suzie Bates (7) and Morna Neilsen (5). She has certainly enjoyed bowling at the Ageas Bowl, but Chelmsford might be slightly different. Kiwis Bates (180) and Sara McGlashan (113) lead the Vipers' run-scorers, helped no doubt by the fact that they both played some county cricket here in England (for Kent and Sussex) before the tournament started.

As for predictions I have put mine in a sealed envelope in my non-existent wall safe, and the envelope will not be opened until Finals Day is over. I will, of course, reveal my predictions at this time. I am quietly confident.

It would be great to see a full house at Chelmsford - you can get tickets here. At just £5 for both games it is an absolute steal. Under 17s are just £1. With the weather forecast looking good it will be a great day, full of tension, excitement and some great cricket. I am pleased to say that I will be there.



  1. Thanks Martin. Sunday is going to be brilliant, I am sure. I love the makeup of all 3 of these sides. With any team able to produce a great performance, the result will probably be mostly down to who plays best on the day. I agree that the eliminator winner may have a bit of an advantage in the final.

    Essex T20 blasts this season held at Chelmsford average 168. This is about 130-140 I'd say in women's cricket. So it's a pitch with probably a few more runs in it than the Ageas Bowl, but maybe not as many as Loughborough, depending on what boundary size is set out of course. This seems like we might be set for a good balanced contest, with Lightning, Storm and Vipers finding something to their liking. Vipers have to be overall favourites with their experience, but Storm are the only side to have beaten them. Lightning can beat anyone if they play well. Smaller boundaries will probably favour Lightning over Vipers. The weather looks OK as you suggest, although it is predicted to be very blustery. The wind could play a role as well for batsmen trying to go aerial, and spinners floating it up.

  2. It is interesting that of the six franchises, the three county sides have all failed to qualify for finals day.
    The Storm, Vipers and to a lesser extent, Lightning have had to quuckly establish a collaborative working environment among regional stakeholders.
    An encouraging start for franchise cricket in the UK.

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