Suzie Bates starred with both bat and ball as Southern Vipers begin their 2017 Kia Super League campaign in style with a nine-wicket victory over Western Storm at the Ageas Bowl.
Bates (2-8) and Tash Farrant (2-10) took two wickets apiece as Southern Vipers blew away Western Storm, dismissing them for just 70 inside their allocation of overs.
In reply, the New Zealand international (47*) crunched the ball to all parts in a wonderful 31-ball innings as the Vipers begin their title defence in style in front of a healthy crowd.
The Vipers got off to a great start to their Kia Super League defence, with Tash Farrant (2-10) claiming the first wicket of the competition as Rachel Priest (3) edged behind in the third over.
Spinner Linsey Smith (1-9) then claimed the prized scalp of England captain Heather Knight (1) in the very next over, with Western Storm being reduced to 13-2 after four overs.
The economical start continued with both Farrant and Smith restricting their opponents to 15-2 after the opening six overs of the game, as the Storm batsman struggled to get the ball away.
Georgia Hennessey then hit the first maximum of the innings in a productive ninth over for the visitors, who accelerated onto 40-2.
However, after hitting 14 runs in quick succession, Hennessey (22) was trapped in front by Suzie Bates in the very next over, reducing Western Storm to 41-3 at the halfway stage.
Farrant then returned in the 11th over to claim the wicket of West Indian power-hitter Stafanie Taylor (8), as the Vipers continued to dominate with the ball.
The wickets continued to come after some smart work in the field from Charlotte Edwards saw the end of Sophie Luff (0) as the Storm collapsed to 45-5 after 12 overs.
Bates (2-8) then returned and picked up the Vipers’ sixth wicket, with Alice Macleod (4) offering a simple return catch to the New Zealand international to leave the Storm reeling on 58-6.
Katie George then picked up her first wicket of the 2017 campaign when Fran Wilson (10) was caught behind looking to cut a ball, reducing the visitors to 62-7.
That triggered a collapse, as a run out and a first Vipers wicket from Hayley Matthews saw Western Storm fall to 62-9 in the 17th over.
The fielding standards continued when Linsey Smith wrapped up the innings, running out Freya Davies (7) with a direct hit as Western Storm were bowled out for just 70.
Vipers got off to a cautious start in reply, moving to 4-0 off the opening two overs. However, Matthews and Bates accelerated the run-rate, smashing 43 runs off the next two overs to put the hosts in a commanding position.
However, Matthews (15) fell looking to end the game quickly, but the Vipers enjoyed a productive powerplay, racing along to 55-1 after six overs.
Bates (47*) then hit the winning runs in style with a maximum to seal a comprehensive nine-wicket win in just nine overs at the Ageas Bowl.