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Western Storm crowned KSL 2017 Champions!

Western Storm won the second Kia Women’s Super League after an explosive innings from Rachel Priest set up an easy seven-wickets victory over Southern Vipers.

In front of a 3,500 crowd at Hove, Priest became the tournament’s leading run scorer with 72 off 36 balls as Storm comfortably reached a target of 146 with 12 balls to spare in a repeat of last year’s final.

The New Zealander unleashed some powerful shots around the wicket with ten fours and three sixes, including a brutal assault on Linsey Smith in the final over of the powerplay. Priest hit four boundaries and a six in an over that cost 25 runs.

Priest overtook Vipers’ Suzie Bates as leading run-scorer when she reached 71 and although she was well caught on the mid-wicket boundary by Danni Wyatt in the tenth over, Storm only needed 52 and Stafanie Taylor, man of the match in their semi-final win over Surrey Stars, and Sophie Luff had little trouble in knocking off the runs, although Taylor had to bat with a runner after suffering a hamstring strain earlier in her innings. They shared an unbroken stand of 57 with Taylor clearing the long-on rope to win the game with a six.

HOVE, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 01: Rachel Priest of Western Storm hits out and Carla Rudd of Southern Vipers looks on during the Women’s Kia Super League Final between Southern Vipers and Western Storm at The 1st Central County Ground on September 1, 2017 in Hove, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Vipers appeared to have set a challenging total on a good pitch when they posted 145 for 5 after they were put in.

Openers Suzie Bates and Hayley Matthews put on 47 in eight overs although both were dropped, with Bates reprieved on six and Matthews off the ball before she was athletically caught and bowled by West Indies team-mate Taylor, having struck six fours in her 31.

Bates came down the pitch to hit Jodie Dibble for a straight six and had moved ominously to 21 when Taylor trapped her leg before working across the line.

Georgia Adams went cheaply but Vipers pushed on through England all-rounder Wyatt and Mignon du Preez, who added 37 in five overs.

Wyatt (21) was superbly caught by Georgia Hennessy running in from long on and Dibble held a good catch at mid-off in the 18th over to end du Preez’ run-a-ball 31, but captain Charlotte Edwards rolled back the years at the end with a cameo of 20 from eight balls including boundaries off last three balls.

Heather Knight, England & Western Storm Captain was delighted with how her team performed on finals day: “Rachel Priest has been outstanding in the second half of the tournament and it was a brilliant innings which helped set us up. I was really pleased for Sophie Luff as well, she has become something of a finisher for us and had a really good tournament.

“It feels great to have won after losing the final last year. We did it the hard way to be honest, we have had quite an inconsistent tournament but our performances today were brilliant. I am chuffed for the girls, they have been superb throughout and I’m delighted to be able to lift that trophy.”

At the end of the match, Former England Captain Charlotte Edwards announced her retirement from the game. “I just wanted to enjoy today and full credit to the Western Storm, they played brilliantly and it was a fantastic innings by Rachel Priest for them.

“I think I would like to play some county cricket but in terms of this competition and playing overseas this is it, my time is done and I want to pursue other things such as coaching and perhaps some media work. I am happy and content with what I have achieved in my career, I have loved every minute of it.

“I haven’t got anything final lined up in terms of coaching. I have spoken to the ECB about potentially working with their junior age groups and hopefully help a lot of the good talent we have got in England develop. I am not envious of the youngsters, I just hope they can grab the incredible opportunities there are now. It is a brilliant time to be involved in the women’s game and hopefully the game in this country will continue to grow.”

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