Batting depth the difference, says Heather Knight, after Deepti Sharma lifts Storm over the line

Deepti Sharma hits out Getty Images

Heather Knight paid credit to her Western Storm side's batting depth after Deepti Sharma's crucial unbeaten 39 from 22 balls from No. 6 lifted them over the line in a nail-biting run chase against Southern Vipers at Hove.

Sharma came in with Storm needing 70 off 7.3 overs after prolific openers Smriti Mandhana and Rachel Priest had fallen early, but struck seven boundaries in her cameo in the middle to support Knight - who made 78 not out - as they chased down their target with an over to spare.

"We've had people throughout the order play brilliantly throughout the competition," Knight said. "Fran Wilson and Sophie Luff have been outstanding for us this year, and Deepti has had some really good cameos, even though she hasn't had to bat too much.

"I'm really delighted with how we've gone. The two at the top [Mandhana and Priest] obviously have a job to try and score quickly and sometimes that doesn't pay off so we've got the middle order to patch that up if that does happen."

Also read: Knight leads Storm to title with unbeaten 78 against Vipers

Vipers captain Tammy Beaumont suggested that while her side's middle order had chipped in throughout the tournament, the difference in batting depth was ultimately the difference between the sides.

"Yeah definitely, you look at them - they've got seven international players, and we're kind of lacking that a little bit in our team," she said.

"Full credit to the girls, they've all stepped up at different times. Amanda Wellington has played some gems of innings for us at five or six, and so have Fi Morris and Paige Scholfield, so that's just the way it is. But yeah, of course - having someone of the class of Deepti is maybe a little bit of a difference there."

The contrast with the Vipers - who were 134 for 1 after 14 overs, but lost six wickets for 38 runs in the final six overs - was clear, and Knight paid credit to her side's decision to sign a full quota of overseas players that would be available for Finals Day, which contrasted with the other two sides.

"Trevor Griffin has been amazing, putting the squad together," she said. "No-one works harder as a coach than him in the early summer going to see players play in county cricket, and stuff like that, and assembling the best squad we could.

"We made the decision to go with an overseas [player] that was going to be available for the final, because obviously we lost Smriti last year. It was sad to let Stafanie [Taylor] go but obviously she wasn't available for today, and Deepti's been outstanding for us, and obviously we had that little bit of extra depth which was nice."

With Danni Wyatt, who was confirmed as player of the tournament after the final, striking the ball cleanly, the Vipers had been set for a total far in advance of the 172 they ended up with, and Knight credited her seamers with dragging things back in their favour.

"I thought they were on for 200-plus at one point, the way Tammy and Danni were going there in the middle," Knight said. "It was a really good track, really hard to defend or stop the flow of runs when players were going like that.

"We bowled outstandingly - Freya [Davies] and Anya [Shrubsole] in particular pulled it back nicely, managed to pick up a few wickets and I thought 170 was going to be really tough to chase, but we knew it was probably within our grasp.

"We've chased some really good totals over the past couple of years, and we've somehow found a way to win a lot this season in tricky situations, so to do that, with the belief we've had, we knew that if one batter was there at the end we were in with a good chance. [I'm] delighted it was me, and happy to pick up the trophy."