Sarah Taylor proves Diamonds are forever with matchwinning innings

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Former England star seals victory with classy unbeaten 43 at Chelmsford

Northern Diamonds 117 for 2 (Taylor 43*) beat Sunrisers 116 for 7 by eight wickets

Sarah Taylor proved her inimitable class with an impeccable 43 not out as Northern Diamonds got off the mark in the Charlotte Edwards Cup by beating Sunrisers by eight wickets.

Three-time World Cup winner Taylor, who suffered a concussion in the defeat to North West Thunder last weekend, was brilliantly partnered by Leah Dobson’s unbeaten 44.

Having collapsed to 48 for 6, Jo Gardner and Katherine Speed hauled Sunrisers to 116 for 7 with a 64-run revival.

But Taylor and Leah Dobson eased the visitors to victory at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford, with an 87-run partnership leaving 22 balls to spare.

Hollie Armitage came out firing in the chase with a four-six-four combo before Mady Villiers got the last laugh by having her stumped by some impressive Amara Carr glovework.

Ami Campbell clothed a pull to mid-wicket but no collapse was forthcoming as Taylor and Dobson picked off the runs with relative simplicity.

Taylor’s five boundaries oozed beauty – including a full toss driven along the floor, a swivelled pull shot and a step outside off stump to sweep – but it was a trademarked reverse lap which left the longest impression.

Opener Dobson, 19, also impressed with sixes over square-leg and wide long-on but it was her energetic running that defined her contribution. She finished off the chase with a powerful drill down the ground.

Lissy Macleod struck three early boundaries, having been put in, but a double-wicket maiden and a maiden from Jenny Gunn and Phoebe Graham completely halted the hosts on a slow pitch with tennis ball bounce.

England legend Gunn bowled Naomi Dattani with an in-swinger with her second ball before picking up Grace Scrivens lbw two balls later. In the following over Macleod failed to commit and chipped back to a juggling Graham.

Sunrisers were 26 for 4 when Villiers leading edged back to Graham before Amara Carr and Kelly Castle fell soon after to Katie Levick – leg before sweeping and caught behind. The wicket of Castle was Levick’s 100th in the format.

But Gardner and Speed recovered the run rate with more regular boundaries paired with smart running, while stemming the flow of wickets.

Gardner provided the power, while Speed found gaps with expert precision. The former sweetly middled two sixes back over Levick and Linsey Smith’s heads to bring up the 100.

Gardner fell in the last over when hoisting into the leg side, which gave Gunn her 150th T20 wicket, as Sunrisers were always below par.

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