The Kia Super League returns this weekend with six teams from across the country competing throughout July and August in pursuit of being crowned T20 champions at Finals Day in Hove. The competition gets under way on Sunday 22nd July, where defending champions Western Storm take on Yorkshire Diamonds.
Women’s sport has never been in better shape, with successes in netball, hockey and cricket grasping a nation. Therefore, it is a competition that has undoubtedly grown since its inaugural season in 2016. This has increased the profile of women’s cricket, proven by Sky broadcasting 12 games during the tournament; almost double what they showed last season.
The World Cup final in 2017 was the most watched women’s event shown on Sky, where England lifted the trophy with extremely high-quality cricket, which highlighted why women’s sport deserved to be noticed. As a result, Kia Super League can expect larger crowds, heightened excitement and a cracking competition if the buzz from last years final can be continued into this summer.
In the fixture list, there are eight double headers between the KSL and Vitality Blast, where both the men and women will showcase their talent on the same night, which will provide a great spectacle. Six of these are being shown on Sky enabling a much broader audience to get behind the women. The women will be looking to use these matches to show that their games are just as exciting and entertaining as the men.
The teams, Loughborough Lightning, Western Storm, Southern Vipers, Lancashire Thunder, Surrey Stars and Yorkshire Diamonds will play each other twice, with the top three teams qualify for Finals Day.
This will take place on 27th August where 2nd and 3rd play each other for the chance to play in the final against the team who qualified 1st in the table. In the past, the competition has produced some incredible games of cricket, with plenty of tight finishes, high scores and a plethora of talent on show, and the tournament is not to be missed.
Loughborough Lightning will be relishing the new changes to the tournament where each team will play each other twice, taking the total amount of games played in the first stage of the competition from five to ten.
As a result, they will have more of an opportunity to qualify to Finals Day. Last season they struggled to recover from losing their first three games, so this season they will fancy their chances at challenging for the title. The Lightning squad is one that has recruited very well, even though they do not have Ellyse Perry returning for them, they have three very strong overseas players, New Zealand’s Sophie Devine and Aussies Rachael Haynes and Elyse Villani.
They will complement the three English squad players in the squad in captain Georgia Elwiss, Amy Jones and the highly experienced Jenny Gunn who all bring a plethora of talent and potential match-winning performances. Lightning have a very good chance at securing a place at Final’s Day if they kickstart their campaign well which will provide them with more confidence as they progress throughout the competition.
2017 Result: 4th
Squad: Georgia Elwiss (c), Amy Jones (wk), Georgia Adams, Sophie Devine, Abbey Freeborn, Sarah Glenn, Jo Gardener, Kristie Gordon, Jenny Gunn, Rachel Haynes, Lucy Higham, Tara Norris, Sonia Odedra, Linsey Smith, Elyse Villani.
After two fairly successful campaigns in the previous seasons, the Vipers will have their sights set on reaching their third consecutive final and secure their second title. The squad is looking very strong, consisting of four England players in Tammy Beaumont, Danni Wyatt, Tash Farrant and Katie George, in addition to world-class overseas all-rounder from New Zealand in Amelia Kerr, as well as South African Mignon Du Preez. But, there is a range of experience from those with who have won a World Cup, and those getting their first glimpse of the tournament, as a result this squad will rely on the older players to help the new talent if they want to get to Finals Day. Vipers are no doubt one of the teams to watch this tournament, with a strong squad who always rise to the occasion.
2017 Result: Runners-up
Squad: Suzie Bates (c), Tammy Beaumont, Danni Wyatt, Tash Farrant, Mignon Du Preez, Amelia Kerr, Katie George, Paige Scholfield, Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean, Arran Brindle, Carla Rudd, Lauren Bell, Sara McGlashan, Fi Morris.
Last season the Surrey Stars missed out on the opportunity reach the final and contest for the title by losing in the semi-final to the eventual winners, Western Storm. Therefore the Stars are this season intent on going one step further and winning the title. They boast a thoroughly star studded squad, involving seven international stars, four of which are England internationals, Sarah Taylor, Laura Marsh, Bryony Smith and Nat Sciver. Plus, three South-African stars in Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk and Lizelle Lee team up with the mix of strong, experienced players and young, fresh talent emerging in the squad. Stars will see themselves as being strong contenders and are aspiring to get their campaign of to a rapid start in their search for silverware.
2017 Result: 3rd
Squad: Natalie Sciver (c), Sarah Taylor (wk), Aylish Cranstone, Sophia Dunkley, Grace Gibbs, Gayatri Gole, Eva Gray, Hannah Jones, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Laura Marsh, Byrony Smith, Rhianna Southby, Dane Van Niekerk, Mady Villiers
The defending champions will get this competition underway where they will aspire to match last years performances and lift the trophy. They have every shot to replicate their previous performances with the retention of World Cup winners Anya Shrubsole, Heather Knight and Fran Wilson from England.
They have also recruited the talent of India opener, Smriti Mandhana this season, and retained West Indies player Stefanie Taylor, adding to the strength and experience in the squad who once again have the potential to grasp the title. Going into the tournament with plenty of confidence from last years win, team spirit will be high, and a strong squad can all contribute to Storm reproducing last season’s success.
2017 Result: Winners
Squad: Heather Knight (Captain), Rachel Priest (Wicketkeeper), Stafanie Taylor, Fran Wilson, Sophie Luff, Georgia Hennessy, Anya Shrubsole, Jodie Dibble, Alice Macleod, Freya Davies, Danielle Gibson, Amara Carr, Claire Thomas, Lauren Parfitt, Holly Huddleston, Smriti Mandhana.
After last years result, where they did not manage to get a win from the five games they competed in, the Thunder will be looking to rectify previous mistakes to enable them to have a shot at the title.
Now that each team plays each other twice, they will be able to recover from losing a few matches, and have a better idea about how to shape their team. They have a well-balanced squad, composed of four England internationals, involving captain Danielle Hazel, Kate Cross, Alex Hartley and Sophie Ecclestone.
They have also acquired some strong overseas with India’s women’s T20 captain joining the team, Harmanpreet Kaur, as well as Nicole Bolton and Amy Satterthwaite, Australia and New Zealand internationals respectively. Their team professes talent from long standing servants and new faces, which will help to make Old Trafford a venue for thrilling matches throughout the tournament with the squad raring to overcome the horrors of last season.
2017 Result: 6th
Squad: Danielle Hazell (c), Ellie Threlkeld (wk), Nicole Bolton, Georgie Boyce, Natalie Brown, Kate Cross, Rachel Dickinson, Alice Dyson, Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Emma Lamb, Natasha Miles, Amy Satterthwaite.
In 2017, Diamonds finished second from bottom in the points table, however with the a rejuvenated squad with only five players from the 2017 squad, their campaign in 2018 could take a different path. They are all full of belief that they can reach Final’s Day, with the strength of England stars Katherine Brunt and Lauren Winfield, the latter captaining the team and offering explosive batting at the top of the order.
The squad is strengthened by returning overseas Chamari Athapaththu and new additions from Australia, Beth Mooney and Delissa Kimmince. Diamonds will be searching for a change of fortune this season, hoping they can rely on senior players to put in more match winning performances to qualify for Final’s day, and with the talent they have recruited in their fresh squad, it could be a successful campaign for them.
2017 Result: 5th
Squad: Lauren Winfield (c), Beth Mooney (wk) Katherine Brunt, Beth Langston, Alice Davidson–Richards, Chamari Athapaththu, Delissa Kimmince, Helen Fenby, Katie Levick, Sophie Munro, Bess Heath, Thea Brookes, Alice Monaghan, Gwen Davies, Katie Thompson
This is a tournament which is completely worth a watch, where the most talented female players from England and around the world compete in a world-class tournament. It will help to put female sport on the map and provide incredible entertainment for thousands up and down the country. As a result it is highly recommend to head down to support your local team and getting behind the girls!