Western Storm 105/8 lost to Southern Vipers 107/3 by seven wickets
Charlie Dean became Southern Vipers’ all-time leading wicket-taker as Vipers began Champions Day at the Ageas Bowl with a crushing victory over Western Storm.
England off-spinner Dean overtook Tara Norris as her two for 15 catapulted her to 52 wickets for the side across the Kia Super League, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, and Charlotte Edwards Cup.
Lauren Bell’s two wickets in the first over meant sure Storm never truly got going, as they only set holders Vipers 106.
Maia Bouchier ensured it wasn’t a stressful chase with a measured 45 to bring home the seven-wicket bonus point victory with 35 balls to spare.
Storm chose to bat first on a dry wicket under clear blue skies but were four for three before the end of the second over.
Nat Wraith chipped Bell to cover third ball before Dani Gibson edged behind a hooping in-swinging delivery.
Anya Shrubsole then had her former England captain Heather Knight stumped off a wide to continue the revolving wickets.
Vipers had walked out past the Charlotte Edwards Cup trophy, with Hampshire’s Vitality Blast trophy also on show, as the two sides celebrated their 2022 triumphs.
Fran Wilson attempted to settle things down and carved Bell for boundaries through point either side of being dropped at first slip.
She was soon stumped off Dean before Orla Prendergast failed to take her life – having been put down by Bouchier – as she stepped across her stumps and was lbw to Dean. Alex Griffith didn’t fare much better as she picked out long on.
Around all the wickets, captain Sophie Luff was using her textbook running between the wickets to good effect, while almost single-handily taking Storm to some sort of respectability with five fours.
She fell for 44 when slapping a returning Bell to point – the fast bowler returning three for 19. Niamh Holland was the last to depart when she was castled by Linsey Smith as Storm limped to 105 for eight.
Danni Wyatt got the reply off to a flyer with a trio of powerfully struck boundaries off the first over before Bouchier took over with some brutal striking down the ground.
Wyatt was yorked by Prendergast and Nicole Faltum was bowled through the gate by Lauren Filer.
But Bouchier’s effortless run making made sure there was no wobble as she put on 47 with Georgia Adams to take them within 11 runs.
Having struck eight fours, Bouchier attempted to reach a half-century with a six over mid-wicket but was caught on the boundary edge.
But Georgia Elwiss clubbed the winning runs after her swing to the leg side was dropped on the ropes and pushed for four to make sure Vipers remain unbeaten since the 2021 Eliminator in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.