Storm maintain 100% record at Surrey Stars

Rachel Priest gave another masterclass of power hitting as Western Storm maintained their 100 per cent record in the 2019 Kia Super League with a 77-run thrashing of Surrey Stars at Guildford.

The New Zealander blazed 89 in just 55 balls with six sixes and 10 fours as Storm posted 171 for four.

Stars never threatened to chase it down with Sonia Odedra returning figures of four for 25 to hustle them out for just 94.

It means victory over Yorkshire Diamonds on Wednesday will see Storm head for Finals Day with a perfect record in the group stages.

For Stars this was a sixth defeat in a row in what has become a wretched campaign.

Priest had her radar set from over one, hitting Dane Van Niekerk into the crowd. Eva Gray got similar treatment, though the Kiwi would have had her heart in her mouth after one LBW shout from Marizanne Kapp which was turned down by umpire Sue Redfearn.

Smriti Mandhana was superbly stumped by Sarah Taylor off Van Niekerk, but Priest continued on with her relentless assault.

Three more maximums and six fours carried her to 50 in just 33 balls with Western Storm skipper Heather Knight content to play second fiddle.

Stars didn’t help their cause, Amy Gordon dropping Priest at deep mid-on on 76 before shelling another chance, this time to dismiss Knight when she had 22, Laura Marsh the unlucky bowler on both occasions.

A century looked certain for Priest, but she fell 11 short, pulling a short one from Van Niekerk (two for 34) to Natalie Sciver on the mid-wicket fence. The stand with Knight had realised 97 in 65 balls.

Knight (51) then took charge, moving to her own half century with a six and five fours.

Although she fell to Marsh (two for 31) in the last over, 171 for four was another imposing score.

Stars made the worst possible start in pursuit of the target, Lizelle Lee falling to Freya Davies for one to continue her poor run in the campaign.

Van Niekerk soon followed, hitting one huge six before nicking Deepti Sharma into the gloves of Priest.

The rate required was soon beyond 10, but with Davies and Sharma bowling superbly accurately, Stars went six overs without finding the fence.

Successive fours from Sarah Taylor (34) ended the famine, but still the scoreboard pressure mounted.

Taylor’s shot back over the head of Anya Shrubsole was a joy to watch, but England’s 2017 World Cup hero extracted swift revenge when the Stars’ wicketkeeper fell later in the over to a catch by Knight at extra cover.

Knight accounted for Bryony Smith whilst Sciver and Kapp fell in successive balls to Odedra, the latter having her stumps spread-eagled.

There would be no hat-trick, but there was third wicket for Odedra when Marsh was stumped for just a single.

She struck again later in the over as Gray struck her into the hands of Sophie Luff.

Naomi Dattani (two for 10) joined in the fun by mopping up the tail on a sorry afternoon for the Stars.

After the match Odedra said: “It was my first four-for in KSL and it’is just brilliant to contribute to the team. I’ve been in and out of the side, so to get back in and get four wickets feels good.

“Surrey are a dangerous side and although they didn’t have much to play for, they probably wanted to go away with a win.

“Rachel batted incredibly today. Others came off saying it was a difficult wicket to bat on, but that didn’t show with her batting. She made it look really easy. Credit to her the way she has been batting, it’s been brilliant.”

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