Anitha Madikizela reports on the KSL T20 Final: Loughborough Lightning vs Surrey Stars.
Stars put on two impressive displays during the finals day to be crowned champions of the 2018 Kia Super League for the first time. Their three South African players impressed in the final to help the Stars trot to a 66-run victory over the table-topping Lightning.
It was a finals day to remember for Surrey as all their stars aligned to bring home a maiden KSL Trophy after winning both their fixtures in the semi-final and final against the Western Storm and the Loughborough Lightning respectively. A close encounter in the semi-final saw them pip the Storm by just six runs before a dominant display in the final saw them romp to an emphatic victory as the Stars became the third different team to win the KSL trophy in the tournament’s three-year history.
South African Lizelle Lee showcased her clean striking as she smashed an epic 104 runs off just 58 deliveries (S/R 179.31). After the Stars lost the toss and were asked to bat first, Lee came out all guns blazing and terrorised the Lightning bowling attack, with boundaries flying off her bat right from the start. Known for her power hitting ― when Lee hits the ball it stays hit ― struck 13 fours and six sixes as she helped her team to a mammoth 183-6 in their 20 overs.
With such an imposing target set, the Stars bowling attack quickly ripped into the Lightning batting order, with impressive bowling from SA Proteas’ captain Dane van Niekerk (4-0-37-3) and Marizanne Kapp (2-14 in three overs). Their accuracy and experience helped the Stars snuff out the Lightning response with only 117 runs on the board. Kapp and Van Niekerk were sensational in the powerplay, with both picking up wickets in their first over as the Lightning stumbled to 36-3 by the end of the sixth over.
The rest of the Stars attack also played their part, with young Mady Villiers’ accuracy and consistency helping her claim 3-22 in her four overs.
The Lightning had no response and wilted away in a rather tame challenge for the title as they were bowled out in the 19th over. After having to secure qualification on the last day of the group stages, the Stars capitalised on their positive momentum coming into finals day (having won four of their last five matches) to secure their reign as 2018 champions.
Lee was named Player of the Match for her truly incredible big match performance, which capped off a fine tournament for the Proteas Women star scoring 352 runs (ave 32.00, S/R 149.15) to finish fourth on the tournament’s runs list.
Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images