Brilliant Bates Helps Vipers Secure Final Spot

Report of Southern Vipers' Kia Super League match against Lougborough Lightning at the Ageas Bowl

Suzie Bates hammered 38 and bagged two wickets as the Southern Vipers stormed to the Kia Super League final with a comprehensive 59 run win over Loughborough Lightning.

Bates gave the Vipers the perfect start with her quick scoring, before Lydia Greenway and Sara McGlashan pushed the score to 156.

Before the New Zealander’s two-scalps, paired with three each for Linsey Smith and Arran Brindle gave the Vipers four wins from five in the tournament – with 1,200 watching at the Ageas Bowl.

The result forces the Lightning to overcome Western Storm at Finals Day on Sunday (21 August) to decide who faces the Vipers in the final.

After smashing 73 together for the first wicket against the Western Storm on Friday, Bates and Charlotte Edwards wasted little time reacquainting themselves after skipper Edwards had won the toss and batted.

Bates, in particular, looked in fine form as she biffed cuts and drives to the boundary, before unleashing a massive straight six straight down the ground.

Sophie Devine managed to break the strong partnership on 49 as she had the subdued Charlotte Edwards lbw with her first ball but Georgia Adams immediately struck back-to-back boundaries to keep the hosts in control.

But Bates top edged a sweep to Thea Brookes at short fine leg for a swift 38 – going one run behind Nat Sciver in the competitions’ leading run scorer list.

Adams was caught by a good over the head catch by Georgia Elwiss but Greenway and McGlashan lead the Vipers to a tournament high score of 156.

New Zealander McGlashan and recently retired England star Greenway boosted their side with a 62 run stand.

The pair added quick runs, with the reverse sweep a favourite shot for both, before Greenway was bowled in the last over.

Evelyn Jones, who had spent the rest of the campaign batting in the lower middle order, was catapulted to the top of the order, and fit in well opening up as she carved early strokes over the off side.

While Jones prospered her partner Dane van Niekerk struggled, her torment over when she was bowled coming down the track to Smith.

Left armer Smith, who took four wickets on her first Ageas Bowl appearance, bowled Devine two balls later

Staffordshire’s Jones was given a life when Katie George spilled a catch on the square leg boundary but an over later she depart leg before to the standout Smith for 33.

Amy Jones and Ellyse Perry attempted to get the Lightning back on track but the run rate slowed to five an over, before Jones was bowled by Brindle.

Captain Elwiss was caught by Greenway, Sonia Odedra was run out, Thea Brookes was stumped to leave the Lightning facing defeat.

Paige Scholfield holed out to deep mid-wicket before Beth Langston ramped onto her leg stump to hand the Vipers a third bonus point win from three at home.