Indian women team star Smriti Mandhana marked her arrival in Kia Super League in style. The opening batswoman hit an entertaining knock as defending champions Western Storm defeated Yorkshire Diamonds by seven wickets in a high-scoring contest on Sunday (July 22).
Mandhana marked her debut with a quickfire knock of 48. The knock came off just 20 balls and contained 3 fours and 5 sixes. But while Mandhana shone with the bat on her debut, it was England captain Heather Knight who grabbed all the limelight. Knight slammed 97 off just 62 balls to help Western Storm chase down the target with ease.
Heather Knight – 97 off 62 balls
Smriti Mandhana – 48 off 20 balls
Two exceptional @WesternStormKSL displays 👏
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) July 22, 2018
After being asked to bat first, the Diamonds put up a competitive 162 for 5 on a lively track. Australia’s Delissa Kimmince starred with the bat, scoring 55 not out in her maiden KSL outing with the bat. The Diamonds were in a spot of bother after losing Beth Mooney and Chamari Athapaththu with only 12 on the board. However, Lauren Winfield and Alice Davidson-Richards steadied the ship with a 48-run stand.
Freya Davies broke the stand by dismissing Winfield for 41. Alice and Kimmince then took the score past the 100-run mark before Stafanie Taylor sent back the former for 33. Kimmince, on the other hand, remained till the end to ensure her team puts up a good score.
However, it turned out to be too less in the end as Storm chased down the total with more than four overs remaining. Storm made a disastrous start as their talismanic opener Rachel Priest departed for a first-ball duck. However, Mandhana totally took the pressure off with some sizzling stroke-play. She hit Helen Fenby for two straight sixes in as many balls before smashing three further maximums in one Kimmince over.
What an incredible innings on KSL debut from Smriti Mandhana! 48 from just 20 balls!
— Western Storm 🏆🏆 (@WesternStormKSL) July 22, 2018
Mandhana missed her fifty by just two runs but it did not affect the chase. Knight remained till the very end to help her team start the tournament with an impressive win.
Western Storm 166 for 3 (Knight 97, Mandhana 48) beat Yorkshire Diamonds 162 for 5 (Kimmince 55, Winfield 41) by seven wickets