Kia Super League
Western Storm 166-3 beat Yorkshire Diamonds 162-5 by 7 wkts

HEATHER Knight posted a match-winning captain's innings as defending Kia Super League champions Western Storm defeated Yorkshire Diamonds by seven wickets in a high-scoring contest at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton.

Australia's Delissa Kimmince posted an unbeaten 55 as Diamonds registered a competitive 162-5 after being put in to bat on a true pitch.

But England skipper Knight, aided by new signing Smriti Mandhana, guided Storm to a comfortable victory in front of their home crowd with 4.3 overs remaining.

Mandhana marked her debut with a hugely entertaining knock of 48, but it was Knight's 62-ball 97 that did most to seal victory, the 26-year-old accruing 13 4s and five 6s.

The match produced 15 6s, a new league record, with Yorkshire captain Lauren Winfield scoring a fine 41, after the early departures of Beth Mooney and Chamari Athapaththu in the second over.

Winfield succumbed to a Freya Davies inswinger, the Storm bowler finishing with figures of 2-28 off four overs.

Alice Davidson-Richards and all-rounder Kimmince then provided crucial mid-innings momentum in a fourth-wicket stand of 56 in 6.2 overs.

Davidson-Richards scored 33, while Kimmince hit five 4s and two 6s to end on 55 not out as Yorkshire posted 162-5.

Disaster then struck for Storm as Rachel Priest, their match-winner in last season's final, departed for a first-ball duck, pinned in her crease by Helen Fenby.

But that only brought Knight in to join Mandhana, though initially it was the India international who took centre stage, hitting Fenby for two straight 6s and then plundering three further maximums in one over to blast Kimmince out of the attack.

Having sped to 48 from 20 balls, with three 4s and five 6s, and dominated a stand of 80 in 7.5 overs with her captain, Mandhana missed out on a quickfire half-century, as she was caught by Winfield off Davidson-Richards.

But Knight ensured there was no loss of momentum, going to 50 from 39 balls and dominating a partnership of 81 with Stafanie Taylor for the third wicket.

A hundred was there for the taking for Storm's captain but, with just two runs needed to achieve that landmark and the victory, she holed out to Kimmince, giving Davidson-Richards (2-31 off 3.3) her second wicket, leaving Taylor (12no) to hit the winning runs in the 16th over.