Kia Super League

Western Storm 109-5 beat Loughborough Lightning 108-9 by five wickets

A VIRTUOSO all-round display by West Indian star Stafanie Taylor helped the Western Storm defeat Loughborough Lightning by five wickets in Taunton.

Taylor took 4-5 in four overs to rip the heart out of the Lightning batting order, and then top-scored with 34 before Somerset captain Sophie Luff (18*) hit the winning runs with five balls remaining.

The Loughborough innings started brightly, with Amy Jones looking in good touch early on with five boundaries as Holly Huddleston received some punishment.

Freya Davies (1-17) was keeping it tight from the River End, however, and picked up a deserved wicket when Jones chipped straight to Claire Nicholas at mid-on to fall for 21.

Ellyse Perry then became the aggressor, lofting Jodie Dibble for the first six of the innings over long off, but her departure for 25 triggered a spectacular collapse.

Perry was the victim of a direct hit from Stafanie Taylor, and the West Indian then went on to turn the game on its head by removing Georgia Elwiss (1), Sonia Odedra (0) and Thea Brookes (0) in the space of her remarkable first over as the Lightning fell from 54-1 to 59-5.

Paige Scholfield attempted to rebuild before she became Taylor's fourth victim, edging behind for 15, and the 26-year-old Jamaican continued her miserly spell to end with superb figures of 4-5 from four overs.

Huddleston returned at the death to clean bowl Marie Kelly for a patient 18 as the Lightning fell to 95-7, which became 98-8 when Lucy Higham became the second run out victim of the innings.

Beth Langston (8) took her side past the 100 mark before falling to the final ball of the innings, with Huddleston taking the catch from the bowling of Nicholas (1-19) as the visitors ended on 108-9.

The Storm's reply got off the worst possible start as Rachel Priest missed a straight Kristen Beams delivery and fell for a duck, but Heather Knight and Georgia Hennessy rebuilt the innings steadily.

Knight made her way to 24 before she was needlessly run out, but Hennessy took the attack to the Lightining and hit her first six of the run chase in the 11th over.

The opener eventually fell for 23, caught by Ellyse Perry from the bowling of Georgia Elwiss, but that was the cue for Taylor to continue her excellent display by adding runs to her earlier wickets.

She looked in control from the outset and, despite losing the company of Fran Wilson (4), went on to hit five boundaries to ease the pressure on her side.

It was not all plain sailing for the Storm, who still needed 32 from 4.3 overs when Sophie Luff walked to the wicket, but she produced an excellent cameo on her home ground - hitting three crucial boundaries - to take the target within touching distance.

Taylor (34) fell with just two runs required, leaving Luff to do the honours and strike the winning runs with five balls remaining.

The victory was the perfect way for the Storm to bounce back from Thursday's heavy defeat to the Southern Vipers, and they now look ahead to the clash with Yorkshire on Sunday.


SPEAKING after the match, Sophie Luff said: "I love playing here and to hit the winning runs is really special.

"To turn it around after Thursday was really important, and it was a great team performance - Stafanie was outstanding.

"I came in with the mindset of being positive and playing my natural game. I looked to target the spinners and back my plans, and batting with Staf made it that bit easier.

"It was great to play in front of my family - and a few fans from Staplegrove Cricket Club! We've got the win we wanted and now we look forward to playing Yorkshire."