Knight's fifty trumps Perry for final berth

Western Storm 128 for 5 (Knight 52, Taylor 34) beat Loughborough Lightning 124 for 7 (Perry 64, Taylor 3-31) by five wickets

England captain Heather Knight struck a perfectly-paced half-century to guide Western Storm into the Women's Super League final with a five-wicket victory over Loughborough Lightning.

Knight's 43-ball 52 took Storm to the brink of victory before she fell with the scores level in the final over leaving Georgia Hennessy to hit the winning boundary with three balls to spare.

Ellyse Perry's 64 off 48 balls, which included seven fours and two sixes, took Lightning to 124 for 7. Stafanie Taylor had struck two early blows to put them on the back foot before Perry and Sophie Devine added 58 although the run rate never got away from Storm.

Anya Shrubsole bowled her four overs for 17 while Jodie Dibble went for just 20 in her spell. Two run outs by Sophie Luff, to remove Amy Jones and Evelyn Jones, meant Lightning slipped from 80 for 2 to 99 for 6 just as they were aiming to press the accelerator.

However, the last over of the innings from Taylor cost 20 as Thea Brookes hit two boundaries before Perry closed the innings with a four and a six.

Dane van Niekerk struck early in the chase, bowling Rachel Priest, and initially Knight and Taylor were kept quite as Storm reached 36 for 1 after eight overs. Then, however, 14 runs came off Rebecca Grundy's second over and the Storm were away.

Van Niekerk struck again to remove Taylor, breaking a second-wicket stand of 57, but the chase remained under control with Knight and Fran Wilson. Knight brought up her fifty off 39 balls as the target neared and although a few late wickets increased the tension a little there was no late twist.

Storm 2nd innings Partnerships

1st15RH PriestSR Taylor
2nd57SR TaylorHC Knight
3rd45HC KnightFC Wilson
4th7HC KnightL Lee
5th0HC KnightSN Luff
6th4SN LuffGM Hennessy