Heather Knight scored her career best 96. ©Somerset CCC

Western Storm successfully begin their title defence as they beat Yorkshire Diamonds by 7 wickets in Taunton on the opening day of KSL 2018. It was anyone’s game until the end of Diamonds’ inning but Mandhana had certain different plans on her debut.

Heather Knight won the toss and asked the Diamonds’ to bat first as Brunt missed the opening game for the Diamonds. After the loss of the first 2 wickets in the powerplay, skipper Winfield and the young Alice Davidson-Richards put together a brilliant 48 run partnership not giving Storm a chance. Winfield departed after scoring 41 off 29 balls.

Delissa Kimmince, the Australian import, joined ADR and put together a 56 run partnership as ADR got out to a run a ball 33. Kimmince, however, was in no mood to slow down as she managed to score a half-century finishing the innings with 162/5 and her score, an unbeaten 55 off 41 balls. Freya Davies was the pick of the bowlers for Storm as she finished with figures of 2/28.

Helen Fenby started off brilliantly for the Diamonds picking up the wicket of Rachel Priest on the very first ball, a golden duck to begin for Priest. But what everyone witnessed after that can be classified as havoc in Taunton. Smriti Mandhana went berserk scoring runs at all parts of the ground. It was a hell break loose situation as the Indian vice-captain hit 5 sixes and 3 fours in her 20-ball-48 innings before getting out to Alice Davidson Richards.

But all damage had been done by then. Skipper Heather Knight was in no mood for any stoppage to the flow of runs. She took the charge upon herself and continued from where Mandhana left. 13 fours and 5 sixes later for her, she had scored 96 runs off 62 balls before getting out to ADR on the penultimate ball.

Davidson-Richards was the pick of the bowlers for Diamonds as she finished with figures of 2/31 in 3.3 overs. An excellent day in Taunton as the home side picked up a 7 wicket win courtesy to the Mandhana-Knight show.