The England captain Heather Knight along with overseas star Smriti Mandhana led Western Storm to victory over Yorkshire Diamonds by seven wickets in front of their home crowd with 4.3 overs remaining at Taunton.
Mandhana made an impact in her debut match as she hit a 20-ball 48 that had 5 sixes and three hits to the boundary. Skipper Knight too decided to match her Indian teammate as she made a 62-ball 97 with 13 fours and 5 sixes.dominated a stand of 80 in 7.5 overs with her captain, Mandhana failed to make half century, driving a length ball from Davidson Richards straight to cover point. Even as the Diamonds looked to claw back after Mandhana’s dismissal, Knight ensured that she kept dominating the show as she put on 81 with Stafanie Taylor for the third wicket.
Out-played by Storm in each of the last two seasons, Diamonds made a high target this time that produced 15 sixes, a KSL record.
Davidson-Richards scored 33 runs before Taylor caught the ball in the 16th over, but this wicket did not provide the defending champions with permanent respite.
Also, the big-hitting Kimmince contributed 50 runs from 37 balls. She also received a good partnership from Beth Langston and Thea Brookes as the Yorkshire tail wagged.
Known as a short-form specialist in her native Australia, 29-year-old Kimmince took full advantage of Taunton’s short boundaries, by hitting 5 fours and a few sixes to suggest that Storm might not have things entirely their own way.
And when talismanic opener Rachel Priest, Storm’s match-winner in last season’s final, got out in the first ball, the feeling got strengthened.
It was at this time Mandhana took the centre stage by hitting two straight sixes in Fenby’s ball and then hitting three more sixes in one over to blow Kimmince out of the attack.