Lizelle Lee was the hero as Surrey Stars trumped Western Storm and Loughborough Lightning on Finals Day to win the Women’s Cricket Super League for the first time.
Surrey were the last of the three teams to qualify for Finals Day, Storm and Lightning had made the cut well before the end of the round-robin stage. But on the big day, Surrey came to the party, and how!
Natalie Sciver, the captain, put in an outstanding all-round effort in the play-off against Storm, hitting a 43-ball 72* and picking up 2/21, to give Surrey a nine-run win and a pass to the final.
Then it was over to Lee, the South African basher at the top of the order. Lee hit 104 in just 58 balls – only the second century of the competition – and Lightning had no chance. They finished on 117, 66 runs short of Surrey’s 183/6. And the WCSL had its third champion team in three seasons – Southern Vipers, Storm, and now Surrey.
“We've had a bit of an up and down tournament to be honest, but we peaked at the right time and managed to get over the line,” said a thrilled Sciver after the win. “Even Lizelle Lee hasn't had the greatest of competitions up until today, but she certainly peaked today and came to the party.
“We've had some really close games and a couple of poor defeats early on in the group stage. But we've just grown as a team throughout the competition and it's a great feeling to win today.”
Lee did have a quiet tournament by her standards, though she did hit a couple of 40s and a 37-ball 70 earlier in the script against Lancashire Thunder. On the day, though, she was as good as ever, blowing the opposition away as only she can.
We have only gone and won it!! KSL 2018 Champions 🌟🌟🌟🌟 pic.twitter.com/oMbq1AOkVI— Bryony Smith (@BrySmith97) August 27, 2018
“Lizelle played an outstanding innings and Surrey performed a lot better than us on the day for whatever reason,” said Georgia Elwiss, the Lightning captain. “Our girls can hold their heads up high as they have had a terrific campaign and I am so proud of them.
“We started really well but hit some bumps along the way and showed great resilience.”
The woman of the moment was certainly Lee. She hit 13 fours and six sixes in front of a packed Hove County Ground crowd, and the audience lapped it up.
“One moment you’re down there, the next moment you’re up there. So yeah, it’s a great feeling,” said a beaming Lee, the only contender for the Player of the Match award.
“It’s the way the girls went about it. From losing so many games in the first round, we basically had to win every game in the second round. The girls were so good. They just pulled together as a team, and I’m so proud of them.”
Sarah Taylor didn’t have too good a tournament with the bat, but she was celebrating with her mates too after what she called the ‘perfect game’.
“It means a lot. We didn’t have the best of starts to the tournament so to come back and play the way we have, some really hard-fought games … to play the perfect game in the final means a lot,” said the English stalwart.