A record breaking Kia Super League season comes to a close at Hove on Monday.
The run rate in KSL18 (7.44 rpo) far outstrips anything seen in previous professional women’s T20 tournaments. The highest rate for a WBBL season is 6.69 rpo, for WBBL03, and the highest rate for a KSL season was the 6.64 rpo for the inaugural season in 2016.
The rates at which boundary fours (one every 7.38 balls faced) and sixes (43.48) have been hit are greater than in any previous KSL or WBBL seasons.
Where KSL18 also differs from previous KSL seasons is the average SR off non boundary balls. In previous years, the rate in the KSL (53 per 100 balls in 2016, and just 50 in 2017) had been distinctly lower than the WBBL, which has been around 60 runs per hundred balls in each season.
The rate in the KSL this year (57) is still not quite that high, but combined with such high boundary rates, has contributed to the exceptionally high run rate in 2018.
This KSL season has also been characterised by a newfound dominance for chasing sides when compared with previous editions, which brings the tournament in line with trends in the last two WBBL seasons.
Wins were split 17-17 between sides batting first and those chasing over the course of the first two KSL seasons (9-8 in 2016, and 8-9 in 2017).
This year, chasing sides have come out on top in 17 matches, compared with 11 for sides batting first. The lowest total successfully defended this season is 134.
Finalists, Lougborough Lightning set a new tournament record for highest successful chase when they reached a target of 173 vs Southern Vipers at Haslegrave on 4th August. The next day, Western Storm equalled the feat at Scarborough vs Yorkshire Diamonds.
The Storm also set a new highest KSL total when they posted 185 vs Lancashire Thunder at Taunton on 9th August.
|KSL 2018 stats||Loughborough
|Win / loss bat 1st||1 / 1||2 / 3||1 / 4|
|Win / loss bat 2nd||6 / 2||4 / 0||4 / 0|
|Ave 1st innings* (inns batted)||143 (1)||149.75 (4)||123.4 (5)|
|Highest 1st innings total||143||185||167|
|Highest 2nd innings total||174||174||160|
|Bowled opposition out||3||2||1|
|Batting by innings|
|1st innings batting average||18.69||26.31||14.69|
|1st innings run rate||7.36||7.95||6.53|
|2nd innings batting average||38.63||58.70||32.35|
|2nd innings run rate||7.95||9.37||8.29|
|Bowling by innings|
|1st innings bowling average||16.44||21.41||17.90|
|1st innings economy rate||6.68||7.39||7.36|
|2nd innings bowling average||17.33||31.22||28.55|
|2nd innings economy rate||6.64||8.25||7.55|
While Western Storm have been a class apart in terms of their run rate this season, that has largely been due to the extraordinary efforts of Smriti Mandhana, who misses Finals Day for an Indian training camp.
Collectively, the Storm’s batters have made their runs off the bat at 8.09 rpo, compared with 7.39 for the Lightning and 6.88 for the Stars. Remove Mandhana, and the remaining Storm batters have scored at a combined 7.21 rpo.
The Storm’s economy rate as a bowling team (7.76 rpo) has been the worst in the KSL this season. When Mandhana was available this was less of an issue, but could scupper their chances on Finals Day.
The Storm aren’t a one-woman team however, and have made two previous Finals Days (and won one of them) without Mandhana. In Heather Knight they have the 2nd highest run scorer this season, and in Stafanie Taylor and Rachel Priest, the top runscorers in the 2016 and 2017 seasons respectively.
By far the Strongest bowling lineup this year have been Loughborough Lightning. As a team they’ve gone at 6.67 rpo, the only side below 7.00 rpo.
Experienced internationals, Sophie Devine and Jenny Gunn are having their best KSL seasons with the ball. They have been complemented by left-arm spinners Linsey Smith and Kirstie Gordon, who in her rookie season is currently top wicket taker.
Examining how the Lightning perform as a bowling side during different phases of the innings, they operate at below the average rate, in the powerplay, middle overs (7-16) and the death (17-20).
KSL 2018 team stats by phase of innings
Stats exclude reduced over matches
Season average rate
Powerplay: 7.02 rpo
Overs 7-16: 7.41 rpo
Overs 17-20: 7.85 rpo
|Batting team run rate by phase of innings|
|Bowling team economy rate by phase of innings|
As the season has progressed, the Lightining’s batting lineup has looked increasingly impressive. With Rachael Haynes, Sophie Devine, Elyse Villani and Amy Jones, they have a good blend of power hitting and stroke-players.
As is to be expected for the third place qualifier, Surrey Stars fortunes have been more mixed, but they enter Finals Day on the back of two strong performances in the last week, including a win over semi-final opponents Western Storm.
The Stars have been bowled out more than the other two Finals Days sides this season (twice), which appears to have led them to be more circumspect in the powerplay, looking to avoid loss of wickets rather than pile on the runs.
For a team that opens with big-hitting Lizelle Lee, they have a surprisingly low run rate in the powerplay.
Stars were 31/0 and 37/0 in their crucial last two wins vs the Vipers and Storm respectively. Below the average powerplay run-rate this season, but more importantly, without the loss of any wickets.
The Stars do come into Finals Day with the best recent form, and are the only participant to have beaten both the others this season, including doing the double over semi-final opposition Western Storm.
As well as the power hitting of Lee, the Stars have the World’s best powerplay bowler in Marizanne Kapp, England’s two most talented players in Taylor and Sciver, and the season’s brightest prospect in Sophia Dunkley.
Dunkley became the first uncapped English player to make a KSl fifty, with 66 vs the Vipers on the opening day of the season. A strong performance at Hove is certain to see her on the plane for the World T20 in November.
The characteristic all three sides share this season is a strength in chasing.
14 of the 17 wins by chasing sides this year have been made by the three Finals Day participants, who all have better records chasing than they do setting totals in 2018.
In the six head to head meetings between them in 2018, the chasing side has won five, with the only win batting first coming in the 6-overs-a-side match between the Storm and Lighting at Taunton on 29th July.
Finals day qualifiers 2018 KSL head-to-head:
Stars 136/3 (15.5) bt Storm by Storm 132/9 (20.0) by 7 wickets at Cheltenham, 26 Jul
Storm 85/2 (6.0) bt Lighting 67/0 (6.0) by 18 runs at Taunton, 29 Jul
Lightning 96/1 (10.0) bt Stars 95 all out (18.0) by 9 wickets at Loughborough, 2nd Aug
Stars 106/3 (11.2) bt Lighting 100/7 (13.0) by 7 wickets at Guildford, 9th Aug
Lightning 125/1 (12.3) bt Storm 124/6 (20.0) by 9 wickets at Edgbaston, 15 Aug
Stars 160/5 (19.4) bt Storm 158/5 (20.0) by 5 wickets at The Oval, 18 Aug
This may prove pivotal. Every match at a KSL finals day has been won chasing, and the chasing side has also won all three KSL matches played at Hove. The same is also true of the three women’s County T20 matches played at the ground (between Sussex, Berkshire and Notts in 2016).
All four T20Is at the ground have been won by the sides batting 1st, but those matches took place in 2004-15, which is looking increasingly like a different era of women’s T20 cricket.
Could the tournament hinge on the toss of a coin?
Domestic women’s T20 matches at Hove:
Sussex 97/2 (15.4) bt Notts 94/9 (20.0) by 8 wickets, 24/07/2016
Notts 123/6 (20.0) bt Berks 122/4 (20.0) by 4 wickets, 24/07/2016
Sussex 131/3 (17.1) bt Berks 130/6 (20.0) by 7 wickets, 24/07/2016
Storm 101/7 (18.5) bt Stars 100/7 (20.0) by 3 wickets, 01/09/2017
Storm 151/3 (18.0) bt Vipers 145/5 (20.0) by 7 wickets, 01/09/2017
Stars 148/6 (19.3) bt Vipers 147/9 (20.0) by 4 wickets, 14/08/2018
KSL Career statistics by innings