Western Storm continued their march towards Kia Super League Finals Day with a fifth win from six matches, this time by seven wickets chasing 173 against Yorkshire Diamonds at Scarborough.
The defending champions, replying to 172 for five, were fired once more by Indian star Smriti Mandhana, with the 22-year-old continuing a sparkling run of form with 56 off 36 balls.
She shared an unbroken opening partnership of 101 inside 10 overs with New Zealander Rachel Priest (37).
Mandhana added to scores of 48, 37, 52 not out, 43 not out and 102 last time out against Lancashire Thunder.
The Storm, seen home with four balls to spare by captain Heather Knight’s unbeaten 45 off 37, are now level on 23 points with Loughborough Lightning at the top of the table, albeit ahead on net run-rate.
Diamonds openers Beth Mooney and Lauren Winfield also shared 119 inside 14 overs, with Australian Mooney leading the way with 69 off 42 balls after the hosts won the toss.
Winfield added 48 at a fast scoring North Marine Road.
After conceding only four runs from the first two overs, bowled by Anya Shrubsole and Claire Nicholas, the Storm were punished by Mooney and Winfield as they erred in length.
Mooney posted the Diamonds record individual score.
Winfield backed her up as the hosts reached 100 in the 12th over before being bowled by England captain Knight’s off-spinners in the 14th.
Mooney, who had earlier reached 50 off 34 balls, was then one of three batsmen run out going for two as the score fell to 128 for two in the 15th.
Chamari Atapattu (20) was another. In the last over, the Sri Lankan was run out coming back to the non-striker’s end following a direct hit from Shrubsole running around from long-on. The previous ball, Shrubsole had run out Thea Brookes from the same position to the striker’s end.
That meant only Knight and left-arm seamer Naomi Dattani struck with the ball for the Storm.
Priest and Mandhana flew out of the blocks in reply.
Priest hit three fours off the first over from Beth Langston and hoisted Delissa Kimmince over deep mid-wicket for the first six of the match as the visitors moved to 41 without loss in the third over.
Mandhana skied a tough return catch to Atapattu running back, which went down on 17, and you felt Yorkshire had to take any half opportunity to dismiss the left-hander.
Later in the fifth over, Mandhana lofted two sixes over long-on and then pulled Katherine Brunt over wide long-leg as the score moved to 69 without loss after six.
Mandhana reached her latest fifty in 29 balls immediately before the Storm reached 100 in the 10th, although Priest holed out off Katie Levick’s leg-spin later in the over.
Mandhana had her share luck. Prior to being bowled around her legs by Atapattu’s off-spin – 108 for two in the 12th – she had aerially landed a few balls short or wide of fielders.
With the run out of West Indian Stefanie Taylor, things got tighter than once looked likely at 127 for three in the 15th.
But Knight saw them home, needing four from the last over, as the Diamonds were hurt by conceding 18 wides.
Yorkshire have now lost four of six and face an uphill battle to finish in the top three places to qualify for Finals Day.
They travel to Southampton to face fellow strugglers Southern Vipers on Wednesday. Storm host Lancashire Thunder at Taunton on Thursday.
What they said
Storm captain Heather Knight
“The team’s full of confidence at the moment. The way we’re going about our cricket is really pleasing.
“The top of the order is obviously going very well, Smriti in particular. So it was nice for Fran Wilson to get a hit at the end and for Rachel to go so nicely.
“There’s a few areas we can tidy up. I think we let them get few too many runs. But the team’s been brilliant. There’s a good feel around the group, and we’re playing some really good cricket.
“Smriti’s just effortless isn’t she. She’s so pleasing on the eye, keeps it simple and hits it straight.
“I thought Yorkshire came up with some alright plans to her today. Katherine (Brunt) bowled well to her. But everything’s going her way at the moment, even those ones that fall into gaps.
“I think we pretty much might be qualified now, but a few more wins would be nice.”
Diamonds coach Paul Grayson
“That was a missed trick I think given the position we got into with the bat. We could have maybe got another 10-15 runs. I was really pleased with a lot of how we played. It was a good batting performance.
“Lauren has continued her good form, and it was nice to see Beth Mooney score some runs.
“At halfway, I was very confident we could defend that score. I would much rather have been in our position than theirs if I’m honest.
“But we know we were playing against a very good side, and things are going their way at the moment. The ball was chipped into gaps a few times. On another day, they could have been taken.
“It’s frustrating to take because it’s a game we should have closed out.”