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Sciver shines as Stars book place in Kia Super League final

It will be Surrey Stars against Loughborough Lightning in the Kia Super League final as Natalie Sciver’s superb half-century helped to propel her team to a nine-run victory over Western Storm

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It will be Surrey Stars against Loughborough Lightning in the Kia Super League final as Natalie Sciver’s superb half-century helped to propel her team to a nine-run victory over Western Storm.

Having lost the toss and being inserted to bat first, Surrey rallied from 72 for 5 thanks to a 90-run stand between Sciver (72*) and Marizanne Kapp (32*).

Storm were without their star player, India’s Smriti Mandhana - who had scored 420 runs at 60.14 in the tournament - and that perhaps was the difference as they fell short in the chase.

Knight’s side started brightly with the ball with Anya Shrubsole and Freya Davies both getting movement through the air. Shrubsole got the breakthrough with the wicket of Lizelle Lee as the dangerous opener was just looking to up the pace, Rachel Priest taking a fine catch behind the stumps.

Davies bowled three overs in the Powerplay, conceding just nine runs and taking the wicket of Bryony Smith, bowled via an inside edge and pads before hitting the stumps.

Sarah Taylor lofted a drive down the ground for four as she looks to get into her stride but a mistimed reverse sweep off Stafanie Taylor picked out Fran Wilson diving forwards at backward point.

Wilson was in action again to brilliantly run out Dane van Niekerk for 3, and when Knight brought herself into the attack to bowl Sophia Dunkley first ball, Surrey were reeling at 72 for 5.

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Sciver was inspirational with bat and ball

From their skipper, Sciver, and Kapp marshalled the remainder of the innings. Sciver’s high-class effort was a joy to watch as she scored to all sides of Hove. The fifty was brought up from 33 deliveries as the Stars moved towards a defendable target.

After their early wobbles, Surrey added 100 in the final 10 overs to set the Storm 163 for a place in the final.

In Mandhana’s absence, Shrubsole found herself elevated to opener as part of a batting reshuffle but it wouldn’t pay off as she managed just 2 from 5 before picking out Kapp on the boundary.

Priest (24) and Stefanie Taylor (16) made starts without kicking on before Knight (34) and Wilson added 54 to the total.

Dunkley claimed a prized scalp, bowling the England captain and Sophie Luff was well caught by Kapp coming in off the boundary, but it looked as though Wilson’s half-century (58*) was edging her side towards victory.

With 19 required from the final two overs Laura Marsh produced an excellent penultimate over, conceding just five from it.

Sciver bowled herself in the deciding over and struck with her first ball to bowl Naomi Dattani.

Just four more would come from the over as Surrey closed things out to complete a nine-run win and set up a clash with Loughborough Lightning in the final.

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