By Graham Hardcastle
Lauren Winfield is hoping it is a case of bring down the Queen and her Empire will follow when her Yorkshire Diamonds side tackle champions Western Storm at Scarborough on Sunday (2.30pm).
The Diamonds are up and running in this summer’s Kia Super League having beaten Southern Vipers at York yesterday (THURSDAY) to secure a first win in five matches, a run which includes three defeats.
But the Storm have started well, winning three of their four matches so far. They will hope to add to that when they face Lancashire Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford this afternoon.
And key to the Storm’s success so far has been big-hitting Indian overseas opener Smriti Mandhana, who hit a quick-fire 48 against the Diamonds in the opening day defeat at Taunton last month and has posted unbeaten scores of 52 and 43 in the last week.
“A lot of their runs have been scored by Mandhana,” said Winfield.
“She’ll be a huge wicket for us so we can have a look at the rest of their order who haven’t had a lot of time in the middle as a result of that.
“We won’t just be focusing on her. But the way she’s been playing, it’s taken the pressure off the rest of their line-up.
“If we manage to get her early, the rest will have to step up having played second fiddle.”
Winfield was delighted that the Diamonds were able to break their duck against the Vipers at York with an all-round display that was encouraging with room for improvement, according to the England opener.
The Diamonds posted 175-5, the second highest score ever in the KSL, with Winfield hitting 64. They then restricted the visitors to 163-9 as Katherine Brunt claimed five wickets.
“Hopefully that’s a bit of momentum for us to build on that first win,” said the skipper.
“We probably could have got 20 or 30 more than we did. But fortunately the early wicket of Danni Wyatt took the sting out of their attack a bit.
“The best thing about it is that 10 games is a long competition and you don’t want to peak too early. As long we take belief from that win and keep doing our things well, I’m sure we’ll be just fine.
“The Storm will be a challenging game again. They’re a team with momentum. But a lot of people put their hands up with bat and ball against the Vipers. It’s not necessarily a one-man band for us.
“I think we bowled better than we have done. Where we’ve struggled before is leaking boundaries at the back end of every over.”
Winfield, who wants more discipline with the ball and in the field given they conceded 25 extras with 19 wides, went on: “I just wanted that one win on the board to lift the spirits of the group.
“We’ve had a tough start, and there’s been a lot of sleepless nights for me.”
On her own innings, which fell three runs short of posting the Diamonds’ highest individual total since the start of the competition in 2016, she added: “I’m not very good with stats, so I didn’t know that.
“The way I’m going, I’m really pleased after not much cricket this summer. But I’d still like to go on and make 80s, 90s and hundreds in this format and make a statement and win games.”