Kiwi County Tour: Women's T20 Super League #6

 Priest = MVP of the final, Bates = Super League MVP.

Priest = MVP of the final, Bates = Super League MVP.

Suzie Bates and her Southern Vipers couldn't go back to back with Women's T20 Super League championships, Rachel Priest and her Western Storm did manage to go back to back though. Western rolled into the final against Southern by beating Surrey Stars and then a few hours later the Storm chased down their target with a couple overs to spare, thanks to another swashbucklin' knock from Priest.

Not much happened in the semi-final from a Kiwi County Tour perspective as Holly Huddleston was again left out of Western's team, leaving Priest to hold it down. Surrey batted first and reached 100/7 from their 20 overs, with Priest getting two stumpings in the same over. Priest then hit 11 off 10 balls but was dismissed in the 3rd over, with Western struggling on 12/3 and then 17/4 an over later. 

Luckily for Western, they were only chasing 101 to win and a solid middle order stand saw them chase their taget down in 18/5 overs, 7 wickets down. Priest obviously knew that her team would make up for her lack of semi-final runs to reach the final, safe in the knowledge that she would then go bonkers in the final. 

Before Priest went bonkers though, she had to watch Bates tease with 21 off 24 balls as Southern put 145/5 off 20 overs up. Bates teased, although she couldn't kick on and Southern will probably be lamenting the fact that none of their batters could go big like Priest; five Vipers reached 20, none passed 31. 

Priest got another stumping which gave her 3 stumpings in 24 hours, then she casually whacked 10 fours and 3 sixes in a Championship knock of 72 off 36 balls. Priest only batted for 41 minutes and finished with a strike-rate of 200, which is handy in any T20 game but in the final of such a tournament, to have a kiwi snatch the game is lovely. 

Bates only bowled 2 overs, conceding 9rpo as Western strolled to victory in 18 overs, reaching 151/3. Priest was dismissed in the 10th over with Western on 94/3 and remember that Priest had scored of 72 of those 94 runs and set Western up for back to back wins, or more importantly a Women's T20 Super League championship.

In doing so, Priest passed Bates for the most runs in this year's Super League - only by 1 run though. Priest finished with 261 runs @ 43.50avg/164.15sr and Bates finished with 260 runs @ 86.66avg/132.65sr, with Bates taken a slight overall advantage as she played a game less than Priest. 

Last year Bates led her Southern Vipers to victory and this year it's Priest leading Western Storm to victory, so at this stage the Super League (two years deep) is owned by kiwis. Priest and Bates were the only players to hit centuries, they were the only players to hit more than 30 fours each and they were the only players to score over 200 runs. 

Bates also featured on the wicket rankings, taking 8 wickets @ 11.87avg/5.58rpo which had her ranked 6th. The next best kiwi bowler was Lea Tahuhu who only took 3 wickets, so Bates still deserves all sorts of tu meke loving as she dominated with the bat and held it down for the Kiwi County Tour as one of the best bowlers in the Super League. It's nice of her to share the KCT glory as well.

Starting the Super League slowly with scores of 3 and 0, Priest then sparked in action with scores of 106*, 17, 52, 11 and 72.  The amount of runs Priest scored in an innings helped, although her style is such that any score she makes is going to come swiftly and her hitting ability ensured that Western were off to an aggressive start; Priest's semi-final knock was only 11, but it came via 183.33sr and swung some sort of momentum Western's way.

After a rather disappointing World Cup for the White Ferns, it's righteous for our kiwi cricketers to steal the Super League show and keep Aotearoa on the women's cricketing map. Women's Big Bash League is the premier T20 competition, followed by Super League and for two kiwis to dominate the Super League run-scoring is lit. Priest and Bates didn't just score the most runs, they smacked boundaries every where they went as opening batswomen and I'd make a rather strong case that these two kiwi ladies played a huge role in drawing in crowds, pushing women's cricket forward via another successful Super League.

Peace and love 27.

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