Southern Vipers crowned Champions at The E.C.G

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Southern Vipers were crowned as the 2016 Kia Super League Champions on Sunday afternoon as Charlotte Edwards’ team overcame Heather Knight’s Western Storm by 7 wickets at The Essex County Ground.

They were crowned the first Kia Super League winners as veterans Sara McGlashan and Lydia Greenway held their nerve in a tense run chase against Western Storm.

The Vipers had finished top of the qualifying table and seemed on course for a comfortable win on Finals Day in Chelmsford as their captain Charlotte Edwards shared an opening stand of 78 with Suzie Bates in reply to a Storm total of 140 for five.

Storm, who had beaten Loughborough Lightning in the first game of a double header to secure their place in the final, hit back by dismissing both openers in the space of three overs, with Bates brilliantly run out by Fran Wilson for 52.

But Greenway joined McGlashan in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 39, and drove the winning boundary wide of mid-off with seven balls to spare.

Arran Brindle was an unlikely bowling star for the Vipers. The 34-year-old allrounder from Yorkshire came out of retirement for the KSL, and took two for 15 from her four overs including the key wicket of West Indies allrounder Stafanie Taylor – all while wearing her Vipers cap.

Storm’s total of 140 for five had been built around a canny half-century from their New Zealand wicketkeeper Rachel Priest.

She shared an opening stand of 74 inside 11 overs with Taylor, but the Storm started to lose momentum after Taylor had lofted Brindle to Edwards at mid-off.

Priest fell for 57 off 55 balls off the bowling of her compatriot Bates, coolly held on the boundary by Greenway, and although Wilson and Georgia Hennessy added some handy late runs, they did not quite have enough.

Edwards signalled her intent with a rare straight six, and Bates showed why she was named the outstanding female cricketer in the world by Wisden earlier this year by reaching a 43-ball half century with seven classical boundaries.