Edwards Lauds Inaugural Kia Super League Success

Southern Vipers Captain Charlotte Edwards reflects on an historic summer for women's cricket

Charlotte Edwards defines her experience of winning the inaugural Kia Super League with Southern Vipers as “special”. The game-changing competition has reignited the England legend’s passion for cricket and potentially stimulated an interest in the sport for a whole new generation of cricket lovers. 

When Lydia Greenway straight-drove the winning boundary against Western Storm at Chelmsford on Sunday, there was relief, adulation and pride etched onto the face of the Southern Vipers captain, who has given everything to the Ageas Bowl-based side since the squad came together in May.

Sunday’s exhibition of high-quality, eye-catching cricket was all the more remarkable given that, five months ago, the Women’s Cricket Super League was yet to unveil its sponsor and the squads, which have become close-knit and endearing, were yet to be confirmed.

“The tournament has exceeded my expectations,” Edwards said, speaking after the Vipers’ seven-wicket victory on Sunday. “To start with a blank canvas, reach Finals Day and put in a performance like that – this is everything you hope for.

“It’s been brilliant to be part of this group for the last few months, watching them grow and develop as people and players. We’ll all enjoy celebrating what was a brilliant win.”

An innovative, contemporary competition, the Kia Super League has aimed to mix elite, international stars with promising young county players in order to entice the next generation of cricket fans.

The Vipers have been led by a former England captain whilst providing an opportunity for younger, less established names such as Hampshire bowler Katie George, who has flourished, undaunted by a big step up in playing quality, audience and media exposure. 

“It’s up there with the Big Bash absolutely,” Edwards said. “Having six teams has made it absolutely competitive, and to be playing with some of the best players in the world is great for the youngsters in the team.

“This competition helps bridge that gap.”

Being part of the Vipers’ journey has rejuvenated Edwards, giving her a new focus after retiring from international cricket, and her maximum-hitting antics in the Super League final suggested there is fuel left in the tank.  

More than 20 years after making her England debut, Edwards is still at the forefront of women's cricket, continuing to lead in the field and produce competitive scores at the crease.   

“You always hope on the big stage you’re going to come good, and I felt I was getting better with every game in this tournament,” she said.

“You couldn’t have made up my summer really - getting knocked on the head and missing the Lancashire game - but everyone’s shown a lot of faith in me and I’ve kept backing myself.

“This is what I miss playing in, these sorts of occasions, and to be at the other end to the likes of Suzie (Bates) makes batting easy.

“It’s been an emotional tournament. I’ve had to deal with quite a lot this summer but I’ve really sensed the team behind me, I’ve loved having the role as mentor and it’s been brilliant to be a part of.”

Words: Sam Fletcher

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