Suzie Bates didn't do a whole lot this weekend, other than booking a place in the final with her defending champion Southern Vipers. With Surrey Stars losing to Loughborough Lightning and the Vipers getting up over Yorkshire Diamonds, Bates sealed the chance to go back to back and in doing so, puts herself in an almighty position for MVP/World's Greatest honours - if you can judge World's Greatest from a franchise T20 league, which is far more applicable in women's cricket.
Oddly enough, securing a direct passage through to the final seems to be crucial because the qualifying final is held earlier on the same day. Western Storm via a half-century from Rachel Priest defeated Lancashire Thunder to book their place in the qualifying final, which made up for Holly Huddleston's absence. Western will now face Surrey Stars on Finals day and the winner of that game then plays the final, only a few hours later. This all feels a bit odd and is stacked heavily in favour of Bates and her Vipers, can't really complain about that though.
Game 13: Southern Vipers vs Yorkshire
Suzie Bates vs Sophie Devine
We're not quite trending in the right direction with Bates though after she started the tournament on fire, cooling down as we reach the climax. Bates followed her 11 in her last game with 12 here, hitting 12 off 15 balls before she was dismissed in the 4th over with the Vipers going on to reach 138/6 from their 20 overs.
If Bates isn't scoring 40+ then she can still be a factor with the ball and after five games, Bates has managed to snatch 1+ wicket in all five games. She only chipped in with 1/19 @ 6.33rpo from her 3 overs here, but Bates pegged Chamari Jayangani lbw when the Sri Lankan international was on 21 from just 15 balls. That wicket slowed Yorkshire down and anytime Bates is conceding less than 7rpo, she's doing her job nicely as she'll more often than not create a wicket via that tight bowling and she also ran Katherine Brunt out with Brunt on 42 off 30. That's Yorkshire's two top-scorers dismissed by Bates.
Unfortunately a six-ball-duck for Sophie Devine rounded off a super disappointing campaign for the powerful hitter. Devine was bowled in the 6th over and through five innings, Devine scored 10+ runs just twice, she also only bowled in three games so Yorkshire didn't quite enjoy Devine's all-round ability.
Game 15: Western Storm vs Lancashire Thunder
Rachel Priest vs Amy Sattertwhaite/Lea Tahuhu
No Huddleston, but we were treated to some solid work from Priest, Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu in a righteous battle of the Kiwi County Tour. Lancashire were first up to bat and Satterthwaite knocked 44 off 41 before Priest whipped the bails of, stumping Satterthwaite in the 19th other - Priest could have let Satterthwaite reach a half-century, personal milestones are overrated though. Lancashire reached 122/5 off their 50 overs
This has been a strange tournament for Satterthwaite as she hasn't dominated, nor has she under-delivered and Lancashire will be pleased with their returns from Satterthwaite. The Cantabrian had four 15+ scores in five innings and that one innings that she didn't pass 15 was when Satterthwaite was dismissed for a duck.
Satterthwaite found a happy place by chipping in with consistently solid contributions and Priest's style is completely different. Priest either goes large or doesn't last very long and in a crucial game for Western, Priest went large as she whacked 52 off 26 balls via 7 fours and 3 sixes, striking at 200. Even crazier is that Priest was dismissed in the 8th over and by then, Priest had taken the game away from Lancashire and from 72/3 in the 8th over, Western strolled to victory in the 18th over.
Lea Tahuhu did well not to get on the receiving end of Priest's hitting, conceding 5.66rpo and taking a wicket in her 3 overs. Tahuhu finishes the Super League with just 3 wickets @ 33.66avg/7.76rpo in five games, which is a wee bit disappointing but considering that the next best kiwi bowler was Huddleston (2 wickets @ 52avg/9.45rpo); everyone but Bates has been a wee bit disappointing with the ball.
Suzie Bates has hit the most fours (33) and Rachel Priest is 2nd with 24 fours, no other batter has hit more than 20 fours.
There's a chance Bates and Priest could finish 1st and 2nd for runs as Bates is 1st and Priest is 3rd, but Elyse Perry who sits in 2nd won't be playing any more games.
Bates is 4th in wickets and still has the best bowling average (9.62) of the top-10 wicket-takers. Bates has also bowled the least overs (15) of the top-five wicket-takers, so once again you could make a strong case for Bates being the best bowler ... and batter.
Semi-Final: Surrey Stars vs Western Storm (Priest/Tahuhu). Sat NZT.
Final: Southern Vipers (Bates) vs someone. Sat NZT.
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