Georgia Adams hit 41 as the Southern Vipers produced a flawless display with bat and ball to start their Kia Super League campaign with a cruising six wicket bonus point win over Surrey Stars.
Opening batsman Adams crunched her impressive tally from 43 balls with a stylish knock, partnered wonderfully by New Zealand international Suzie Bates.
Despite a mini-wobble with victory in their sights the Vipers chased down 85 with 29 balls to spare following a blemish free bowling performance – in front of an incredible crowd of 2,240 at the Ageas Bowl, going towards a strong opening weekend total attendance of 4,376.
After Surrey had elected to bat first, opening bowlers Morna Nielson and Natasha Farrant piled on the pressure from the off with batsmen Bryony Smith and Tammy Beaumont struggling to pierce the infield.
And the frustration was typified when England star Beaumont chipped Farrant straight to Charlotte Edwards at mid-on with the 12th ball of the innings.
The squeeze continued into left armer Farrant’s second over when she had Cordelia Griffith leg before and New Zealander Bates joined the fun by bowling a slogging Smith.
The Stars were then left on 26 for four when a stunning catch from skipper Edwards, again at mid-on, to give Nielsen her first wicket with the final ball of her spell – top figures of one for 12.
It got even worse for the visitors when captain Nat Sciver sent back overseas player Marizanne Kapp – who was well short of making her ground.
Edwards, an England legend, suffered a sickening neck injury when she collided with Fi Morris attempting to catch Sciver’s aerial strike – the Vipers’ leader sitting out the rest of the match.
Naomi Dattani was lbw to Morris but Sciver and Rene Farrell milked as many runs as possible in a 37 run partnership to help the Stars reach 85 for six in their 20 overs.
The Vipers boasted a glowing bowling card with home grown pacer Katie George a surprise standout despite going wicketless, only going for 13 in her four middle overs including 17 dot balls, Farrant two for 17.
In reply, Bates and Adams, promoted to the top of the order with Edwards sidelined although able to bat if required, looked more at ease at the crease than their Surrey counterparts.
Adams stroked a glorious cover drive, before the second best batsman in the world Bates copied her at the other end the pair going through the gears to reach 32 by the end of the power play.
Surrey’s day slumped again when Kapp dropped a low chance off Adams, and the Sussex batsman made her pay with a beautiful lofted drive down the ground soon after.
The fifty stand came up in 65 deliveries, but Adams drilled a caught and bowled at Alex Hartley to end the partnership.
Sara McGlashan was caught and bowled next ball and Bates, 25, was castled by Lea Tahuhu as three wickets fell for two runs, before Alice Macleod was run out but the home side managed to ease to an opening weekend thrashing.
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