Stafanie Taylor’s unbeaten 74 guided Western Storm to an unlikely but thrilling five wicket victory over Surrey Stars in the Kia Women’s Super League at the Brightside Ground.
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 in Bristol.
The Storm appeared dead and buried when Surrey, who hit 161 for 6 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 4.
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 5, 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 8 for 1. Captain Knight departed at 16 for 2 and when Fran Wilson was trapped leg before, at 17 for 3, the Storm’s chances appeared to have disappeared.
However, Taylor, desperate to make up for her fielding lapses, and Lee joined forces to drag the hosts back into the contest.
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 4. It was soon 94 for 5 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.
Western Storm captain Heather Knight said; “We always knew that we had the batting power so even at 94 for 5, 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.”