By Graham Hardcastle

Danni Hazell says her Yorkshire Diamonds are relishing the challenge of being thrown in at the deep end with an opening-night clash with Kia Women’s Super League champions Surrey Stars on Tuesday.

New coach Hazell and her players will host Nat Sciver and the Stars in a televised floodlit fixture at Emerald Headingley, starting at 7pm.

The Diamonds are chasing their maiden Finals Day appearance in the fourth and final edition of the KSL and believe they have every chance of success given some notable personnel changes, highlighted by the signing of Australian star Alyssa Healy.

The experienced wicketkeeper is set to open the batting alongside captain Lauren Winfield, a recent Ashes opponent.

Healy has been joined by teenage India batting sensation Jemimah Rodrigues and Edinburgh-born New Zealand all-rounder Leigh Kasperek, who has been playing regular county cricket for Yorkshire for the past two seasons.

Kasperek is a late replacement for South African Chloe Tryon, who requires surgery on a knee problem.

“Surrey were the champions last year, and you might as well test yourself against the best first up,” said Hazell. “We’re looking forward to getting underway.”

Last season, whilst captaining Lancashire, Hazell suffered disappointment at the hands of Surrey, with them denying the Thunder a place at Finals Day during a hectic final day of games. They then went on to win the competition.

“Being involved with Lancashire, we thought we’d done enough to get ourselves through to Finals Day,” she reflected. “Surrey snuck in the back door and did a great job of going on to win it.

“But it’s a new year with plenty of new players. We’ll see what they’ve got. It should be fun.”

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An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

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