Danni Wyatt leads Southern Vipers charge over South East Stars
Bryony Smith, Sophia Dunkley fifties can't halt defending champs as England Women's coach Jon Lewis looks on
Southern Vipers 171 for 4 (Wyatt 40, Bouchier 30) beat South East Stars 169 for 6 (Smith 83, Dunkley 53, Bell 2-25) by six wickets
Danni Wyatt smashed 40 off 20 balls as Charlotte Edwards Cup holders Southern Vipers began their defence with a six-wicket victory over South East Stars.
Opening batter Wyatt plundered five fours and a pair of sixes to put Vipers on track in their pursuit of 170, the highest successful chase in Charlotte Edwards Cup history.
Maia Bouchier impressed with a quick-fire 30 and Lauren Bell claimed 2 for 25 for Vipers, while Bryony Smith and Sophia Dunkley clocked thrilling half-centuries in front of the on-looking England head coach Jon Lewis, who is about to enter the throes of Women's Ashes preparations. But Georgia Elwiss and Charlie Dean got Vipers over the line with seven balls to spare.
Having been stuck in by Vipers, it was Dunkley that began the first-wicket blitz with a drilled boundary off her first ball but Smith soon took over. The Stars captain was brutal in her ball striking on a belting hard wicket with a quick outfield at the picturesque and friendly Falkland Cricket Club.
The boundary was lined with about 400 spectators including 160 students from local schools - many of which used the net facilities and practised their cricket skills. They cheered on Smith as she rushed to her half-century in 26 balls with her 11th four.
Vipers offered a series of chances: Dunkley was dropped on 35 and 36 while Linsey Smith couldn't hold a Smith skier before thumping back-to-back sixes as 200 looked on the cards.
The only way to part the openers was by their own misadventure, and that came when Alice Monaghan speared in a throw from deep square leg to run out Smith for 83. It ended a 134-run stand and sparked a slowdown which saw only 35 runs added and six wickets fall over the last six overs.
Dunkley reached her maiden Charlotte Edwards Cup half-century, and 11th in T20s, in 42 balls but was soon caught behind giving herself room to cut.
Paige Scholfield spooned to deep square leg before three wickets in the final over - Alice Davidson-Richards and Tash Farrant bowled by Bell and Kira Chathli run out to leave the visitors on 169.
Like the Stars, the Vipers' openers - Bouchier and Wyatt - tonked the ball around in the powerplay. Both had struck maximums before the end of the third over as their fifty stand arrived in 24 balls.
Like Smith, Bouchier was run out in full flow - for an 18-ball 30, but Wyatt kicked into overdrive with an effortless hoick for a second six as the Vipers stormed to 79 for one off the powerplay.
Australian Nicole Faltum was brilliantly caught at cover by Dunkley before Wyatt skewed to backward point for 40 as Stars dragged things back in the middle overs.
Georgias Adams and Elwiss put Vipers in control again with a 48-run stand, but the former was the fourth batter to be run out with 29 runs still needed.
The earlier heavy scoring had meant the rate was roughly a run-a-ball for the death and Elwiss and Dean carefully took their side to victory and condemned Stars to a second defeat in two matches.