SOUTHERN VIPERS lost to Surrey Stars in the Kia Women’s Super League despite another impressive innings by Suzie Bates.
The New Zealander has yet to be dismissed in the tournament after making an unbeaten 50 to add to earlier scores of 47 and 119.
But defending-champions Vipers’ pursuit of a target of 128 against Surrey Stars at the Ageas Bowl stalled when they lost four wickets for one run having reached 78 for three in the 13th over.
Rain forced the players off after 16.2 overs with Vipers 100 for seven as Stars won by four runs under Duckworth/Lewis to claim their third straight win and virtually seal their place in finals day at Hove on September 1.
Bates and West Indies’ Hayley Matthews (15) had launched the chase with a stand of 35 before Vipers lost three wickets in nine balls, two of them to England off-spinner Laura Marsh.
Bates and Aaran Brindle then put on 37 for the fourth wicket and looked to be steering the hosts to victory before the dramatic collapse.
Brindle (19) was leg before to Nat Sciver who then ran out Georgia Adams (0) from mid-wicket in the next over.
In her next over, Sciver bowled Vipers’ captain Charlotte Edwards (0) and trapped Carla Rudd (one) lbw two balls later.
Vipers took 16 runs off the 16th over with Bates moving to her half-century with successive fours as they tried in vain to get ahead of Duckworth/Lewis before the rain got too heavy.
Bates, who had already made 47 and 119 earlier in the tournament, made her runs from 41 balls with seven boundaries.
Vipers captain Charlotte Edwards said: ‘It’s disappointing that we had to come off for rain because if we’d managed to stay out Suzie (Bates) might have seen us home but I could understand the umpires, the rain had got pretty bad but it spoiled an exciting finish.
‘Considering the start they made I thought we did well to peg them back to 127 for eight.
‘We were cruising in the chase with Suzie and Aaran Brindle but then lost four wickets quickly, when Surrey showed why they are so strong in the competition.
‘Suzie is in fantastic nick and we hope her form continues but we didn’t play well enough in that period when we lost four wickets quickly and never really recovered. We’ve got two games left and we feel confident we can get the win we need to get into finals day.’