Fran Wilson Not Surprised by Western Storm Domination
Victorious in nine of their ten group matches and through to Sunday's final at Hove, they have been installed as favourites to become the only team to lift the title twice.
Storm await the winners of the semi-final showdown between Loughborough Lightning and Southern Vipers in the final knowing that they have it within their power to establish a record of achievement which will cement their reputation as the most successful side in KSL history.
While the magnitude of Storm's success may have caught their rivals off their guard, it has come as no surprise to England batter Wilson, who anticipated a victorious campaign even before the opening group game on August 6.
"It's come as no surprise to me," declared Wilson, who has played an integral part in Storm's triumphant march to the final. "I looked at the strength of the squad before the start of the season and always believed we had it within us to do very well."
Reflecting on the recruitment of new overseas star Deepti Sharma, the arrival of the experienced Sonia Odedra and the emergence of talented young development programme products such as Alex Griffiths, she added: "This is the strongest our squad has been in all four years of KSL.
"We have greater strength in depth and, crucially, increased competition for places. It's no longer the case that we rely on a few key players to win us games - every individual has played their part this time around. We've found different ways to win games and get out of tight situations and that builds confidence and belief. I think we're a more versatile and adaptable side than before."
Of course, Wilson hardly needs reminding that Storm became the first side to qualify for Finals Day 12 months ago, only to then lose their way and bow out to Loughborough Lightning, who went on to contest the final with eventual winners Surrey Stars.
Aware of the threat of complacency, she argued: "I don't think we'll allow the same thing to happen this time around. We went off like a train in 2018, but then blew up and lost momentum.
"This time, we have looked to build and improve with each game, and we believe there is still room for improvement. It's about peaking at the right time and that's been a big focus for us."
Unlike last year when they lost the services of leading run-scorer Smriti Mandhana ahead of Finals Day, Storm will retain their overseas stars for the duration of the tournament.
"That's absolutely key for us," added Wilson. "Consistency of selection has been a major positive for us and it's good to know that we won't have to change the dynamic of the side this year.
"We'll use what happened last year as a motivational force, something to spur us on to produce the perfect performance when it's really needed."
Beaten by Yorkshire in their final group game at Taunton on Wednesday evening, Storm suffered a scare when Anya Shrubsole slipped in the outfield and had to go off. But she returned later in the innings and is expected to be available for the final.
Experienced seamer Odedra appears to have moved ahead of Griffiths in the pecking order and should feature in an unchanged side at Hove.
Western Storm (probable): Priest, Mandhana, Knight, Wilson, Luff, Sharma, Dattani, Odedra, Shrubsole, Davies, Nicholas.