Maia Bouchier is delighted to be repaying the faith shown by her coaches after playing her part in Southern Vipers’ push for Kia Super League glory.
After squeezing past Lancashire Thunder by three runs on Wednesday, Vipers know that victory over Yorkshire Diamonds in York on Sunday will secure their place at Finals Day on September 1.
Danni Wyatt’s 59, following on from her brilliant 110 against Surrey on Sunday, took her to the top of the leading run scorers with 320 but Vipers’ batting has relied on more than just the England opener.
Against Lancashire Thunder last week, they were struggling on 23 for four but managed to tie the game in no small part thanks to Bouchier’s 40 in a stand of 94 in just 12 overs with West Indies’ all-rounder Stafanie Taylor.
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“It has been a really, really good tournament so far for me, a great experience,” said the 20-year-old Londoner.
“(Director of cricket) Charlotte Edwards and (coach) Nick Denning have given me the opportunity to bat at five or six and put their faith in me and I have been able to get some runs.”
Bouchier switched county allegiances last year when she left Middlesex to join Hampshire and says the presence of former England captain Edwards on the south coast was a big factor in her decision as he looks to expand her game.
“There were plenty of reasons to move to Hampshire from Middlesex but Lottie was a big one for me,” she said.
“She was a brilliant leader in the Vipers last year and she helped a lot with my game.
“I wasn’t confident hitting over the top and coming down the wicket, but she has really helped me with that.
“I didn’t think I could hit over extra cover either, but she really helped with that too and it has paid off.”
So has her friendship with Taylor. “We get on really well,” she added. “There is good communication and we are good friends outside of cricket as well, which helps.
“Batting with here is incredible. Whenever I go out to bat, she is so calm and positive and helps me gets me confident and able to play to the best of my ability.”
After finishing bottom last year the only way was up for Vipers, but with Wyatt in spectacular form and the experienced Suzie Bates to call upon in tight situations, such as Wednesday’s finale against Diamonds when she defended seven runs in the final over, Bouchier feels they are on a roll ahead of Sunday’s reverse fixture in York.
“We just have to win on Sunday,” she said. “It is going to be a great day and hopefully we can pull it off against the Diamonds and then get to Hove. That will be exciting to play in – and hopefully win.”