Sarah Taylor guides Surrey Stars to Cheltenham victory

Sarah Taylor keeping wicket for Surrey Stars Getty Images

Surrey Stars 136 for 3 (Taylor 50*) beat Western Storm 132 for 9 (Mandhana 37, Dunkley 3-18) by seven wickets

Revenge was sweet for Surrey Stars as they beat defending champions Western Storm by seven wickets in the first ever Kia Super League fixture to be staged at Cheltenham.

Legspinner Sophia Dunkley claimed 3 for 18, including the wicket of Indian star Smriti Mandhana, as Storm were restricted to 132 for 9 in their 20 overs.

Inspired by Sarah Taylor's well-judged innings of 50 not out from 34 balls, Stars chased down their target with 4.1 overs to spare, avenging the defeat they suffered at the hands of Storm in last season's semi-final.

Appreciating Storm's strength when chasing, Stars skipper Natalie Sciver won the toss and deployed a quartet of spinners in an attempt to tie down the defending champions on a used pitch.

Storm began well enough, openers Rachel Priest and Mandhana taking advantage of the power-play fielding restrictions and a fast outfield to find the boundary on a regular basis in adding 43 in five overs.

Out to prove a point after being dropped by New Zealand in the winter, Priest made 21 at a run-a-ball, harvesting 4 fours, before hoisting a Marizanne Kapp length ball to mid-off.

Undeterred, overseas signing Mandhana picked up the cudgels, plundering 15 runs off one Laura Marsh over as she moved gracefully towards a half century.

But Storm's smooth progress was checked by 20-year-old Dunkley, who made a double breakthrough when introduced from the College Lawn End in the eighth over.

The Middlesex spinner had England captain Heather Knight caught at the wicket and, two balls later, persuaded Mandhana to hole out to deep midwicket for 37.

Dunkley then lured Fran Wilson into front foot indiscretion, the England international miss-timing a drive and offering a catch to Grace Gibbs at mid-off. At that point, Dunkley boasted figures of 3 for 6 from seven balls.

England spinner Marsh weighed in with 2 for 28, accounting for the dangerous Stafanie Taylor and Sophie Luff, while Mady Villiers bowled Naomi Dattani for 12 and England World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole lofted Gibbs to van Niekerk on the long-off boundary.

Wickets continued to tumble as Gibbs had Danielle Gibson held on the long-on boundary in the penultimate over.

Expansive from the outset, Lizelle Lee (22) and Bryony Smith (33) played aggressively in a power-play that yielded 59 runs, affording Stars' reply crucial early momentum.

The balance of power shifted when Gibson removed Smith and Sciver in the space of nine balls to reduce Stars to 79 for 3 in the ninth over, but World Cup winner Taylor summoned an assured response to calm any nerves.

Supported by van Niekerk (14 not out), the England wicketkeeper dominated an unbroken stand of 57 for the fourth wicket, harvesting nine fours as the visitors banked a bonus point win.

Stars 2nd innings Partnerships

32L LeeBF Smith
31SJ TaylorBF Smith
16SJ TaylorNR Sciver
57SJ TaylorD van Niekerk