Southern Vipers 178 for 2 (Adams 77, Bouchier 57*) beat Western Storm 177 (Dean 3-27, Bell 3-40) by eight wickets
Talismanic captain Georgia Adams inspired Southern Vipers to a comprehensive eight-wicket triumph over arch rivals Western Storm in a one-sided Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy contest at Taunton.
Adams posted an authoritative 77 and Maia Bouchier made 57 not out as the defending champions chased down a victory target of 178 with 15.1 overs to spare to return to winning ways in the 50-over competition.
Charlie Dean and Lauren Bell took 3 for 27 and 3 for 40 respectively to spearhead an impressive Vipers display in the field as the home side were dismissed for an inadequate 177 in 49.3 overs, Katie George top-scoring with 37 from 60 balls.
Beaten for the first time since 2019 by Central Sparks in their last outing, Vipers summoned the perfect response and remain on course to retain the title they won last season. But Storm, weakened by the absence of England stalwarts Heather Knight and Anya Shrubsole, have now lost three matches in succession, their chances of progressing all but over.
Storm won the toss and elected to bat on a sound track, but the innings failed to achieve lift-off in the face of accurate bowling and intense fielding. Off spinner Dean undermined the top order, inducing openers Lauren Parfitt and Fi Morris to hit to mid-on for 10 and 32 respectively, and luring Sophie Luff into a front-foot indiscretion to claim three wickets in 19 balls. Alice Monaghan then removed Georgia Hennessy, who was brilliantly held by Adams at mid-on, as the hosts lurched to 95 for 4 in the 29th over.
George and Nat Wraith launched a recovery of sorts, adding 42 for the fifth wicket, but Bell comprehensively bowled the latter for 21 to initiate a collapse which saw Storm surrender their last six wickets for just 41 in 11 overs.
Bell produced another in-swinger to clean bowl George for 37 and had Danielle Gibson caught behind in the act of cutting for 16, while Charlotte Taylor pinned Nicole Harvey without scoring. Adams accounted for Emma Corney and Mollie Robbins was run out in the final over as the tail drooped. Tara Norris conceded just 32 from 10 overs, helping restrict Storm to 11 boundaries in an innings starved of meaningful momentum.
Storm's total was afforded perspective when Wyatt and Adams staged an opening stand of 57 in 10.3 overs to give the reply impetus. Wyatt hit Morris straight to mid-on for a 30-ball 28, but Adams found another willing ally in Bouchier, the South African playing second fiddle in an alliance of 97 in 20 overs before going to a 64-ball 50 with her seventh boundary.
Adams had her sights set on three figures when she was brilliantly caught at slip by Hennessy off the bowling of Lauren Filer, having plundered 10 fours in a high-octane knock spanning 101 balls. Thereafter, Bouchier eased to victory in company with Ella McCaughan.