Match Preview: Surrey Stars vs Southern Vipers
Date: 12 August 2019
Venue: Kennington Oval, London
It’s relatively early days in the Women’s Cricket Super League but by the looks of it, there are three teams who are head and shoulders above the rest – Southern Vipers, Surrey Stars, and Western Storm are ones who have notched up consistent performances in the tournament so far. On Monday (August 12), Vipers and Stars lock horns to decide who nudges ahead in the battle of the equals.
Stars are unbeaten in the tournament so far, while Vipers tasted their first defeat in the campaign at the hands of Storm in a close match on Sunday (August 11). Tammy Beaumont’s team will be hoping to quickly get back to winning ways.
Stars boast of possibly the best contingent of overseas players in the competition and that was evident when the trio of Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, and Dane van Niekerk displayed their class against Thunder. The England players such as Natalie Sciver, Sarah Taylor, Laura Marsh and Mady Villiers, too, have played their roles to perfection. The defending champions clearly have a whole host of players whom they can count on— always one of the hallmarks of consistent teams.
Speaking of overseas players, Vipers too have a strong group— Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor, and Amanda Wellington can win matches single-handedly. Taylor has been the standout so far, scoring 122 runs at an incredible strike rate of 148.78. She stood up to the challenge against Lightning, putting in an allround performance to help Vipers over the line. Although Bates has largely struggled with the bat, she came roaring back to form with the ball, almost pulling off an improbable victory over Storm on Sunday.
With the ball, Tash Farrant has been exceptional chipping away at the wickets and not giving away easy runs. The left-arm seamer started the tournament with a bang against Thunder picking up three wickets, and added three more against Storm in the third game.
The head-to-head record between the two teams stands at 2-2, with Stars having won the last match on the back of a wonderful allround performance from Natalie Sciver who picked up four wickets and then scored a quick-fire 48.
Monday’s encounter will certainly be a tightly contested one— both teams desperate to keep their place in the top three.
Through this edition of the Women’s Cricket Super League, Villiers has largely flown under the radar— overshadowed by her more illustrious colleagues like Marsh and van Niekerk. The 20-year-old however, has been happy to play the supporting role, and she is certainly doing a wonderful job of it. Coming in to bowl with the new ball, the off-spinner has dismissed both Alyssa Healy and Georgie Boyce early in the play. Villiers has shown wonderful control and bowling smarts in both games so far, varying her pace, line of attack and trajectory quite beautifully. It will be interesting to see how Beaumont and co. tackle the threat she poses. Stars on the other hand, will be hoping Villiers can continue to pick up some early wickets.
Wyatt’s tournament statistics at the start of the season read 264 runs in 16 games without a single fifty. She came into the fourth edition of the WCSL with a point to prove and started on a positive note, helping her team across the line on two occasions. Although she missed out in game three— dismissed off the second ball of the innings— the right-hander will be keen to bounce back and make a contribution in game four. An aggressive player, who can dominate any bowling attack on her day, Wyatt’s form is key to Vipers’ campaign.
The two matches played at Kennington Oval in the 2018 edition of WCSL has favoured the teams chasing. Surrey Stars had won one game and lost the other. Lizelle Lee has fond memories of the ground as last time she played there she scored 48 off just 28 balls to help her team chase down a target of 159.
Generally teams winning the toss look to bowl first as conditions are expected to remain largely the same through the course of the game.
Natalie Sciver (c), Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor, Bryony Smith, Amy Gordon, Mady Villiers, Aylish Cranstone, Gwenan Davies, Grace Gibbs, Eva Grey, Hannah Jones, Rhianna Southby, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelee Lee, Dane van Niekerk
Tammy Beaumont (c), Danielle Wyatt, Charlie Dean, Lauren Bell, Tash Farrant, Maia Bouchier, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Thea Brookes, Marie Kelly, Issy Wong, Fi Morris, Suzie Bates, Stafanie Taylor, Amanda Wellington.