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Southern Vipers v Western Storm - Match Report

Southern Vipers fell agonisingly short of victory against Western Storm at the Ageas Bowl

Good knocks from Stafanie Taylor, Tammy Beaumont and Suzie Bates to go along with three wickets for Tash Farrant were not enough as Southern Vipers fell agonisingly short of victory in their Kia Super League contest against Western Storm.

Heather Knight moved to the top of the scoring charts and Western Storm to the Kia Super League summit by leading her side to a nervy three-wicket victory.

She added 71 with Indian superstar Smriti Mandhana for the second wicket, before Fran Wilson's impeccable 40 off 30 balls took Storm above Vipers and Surrey Stars to the top of the table.

Both sides had come into the clash unbeaten in their opening two KSL fixtures but Storm’s powerful batting line-up proved too strong in front of an almost 1,500 strong crowd at the Ageas Bowl.

Taylor, Beaumont and  Bates, 44 not out, 37 and 33 respectively, had given Vipers 142 defend.

In reply, Rachel Priest square cut Lauren Bell to the boundary before the fast bowler exacted her revenge by flattening the New Zealander’s leg-stump with an in-swinger next ball.

Storm motored in the third over as Smriti Mandhana’s three boundaries helped take 16 runs off Bell, before Heather Knight slog-swept Taylor for six.

Mandhana and Knight cruised past a fifty partnership, from just 32 balls but the stand ended on 71 as Tash Tarrant returned to the attack.

Left armer Farrant found Mandhana swinging to fine leg before Knight was castled four balls later to swing the game open again.

But Luff and Wilson, who eased the pressure with a straight maximum, intelligently ticked off 58 of the remaining 66 runs before the former offered a simple catch to mid-off and Deepti Sharma was run out.

With two needed off the last over, Wilson was lbw and Anya Shrubsole lbw to Bates before Sonia Odedra tip-toed Storm over the line with a ball to spare.

Earlier, Tammy Beaumont decided to bat, after winning the toss, but lost Danni Wyatt to the second ball of the match, when Claire Nicholas bowled her with a loopy yorker.

Beaumont and Bates scored carefully in a 66-run stand for the second wicket, with the former the more attacking with a pair of sixes.

The England star had only collected a single maximum in her first three KSL campaigns, she has seven now this year, although fell attempting an eighth to the deep square rope.

New Zealander Bates was finding timing more difficult, with two boundaries in her 38-ball 33, before she slapped to midwicket and Thea Brookes was caught behind.

At 94 for four with just five overs remaining, Vipers needed a pick-me-up and Taylor’s boundary hitting and Maia Bouchier’s quick-running gave it to them.

West Indian Taylor thrashed seven boundaries, including a pair of smartly struck sweeps and a beauty over mid-off, in her 44 not out off 28 balls.

Bouchier was run out off the last ball as the hosts posted 142 for five, to set-up a record chase in the KSL at the Ageas Bowl.