Although it was the Vipers that came away with the opening-day victory in their contest with the Stars at Guildford, it was the Stars Sophia Dunkley that stole the show with 66 off 43 balls as the Stars recovered from an early collapse at 18-4 to post 141-9 and make the Vipers work for their win.
Dunkley’s admission afterwards that 18-4 was “not the way we wanted to start off” was something of an understatement but as she also acknowledged it was “a good opportunity to go out there and bat” and that is what she did, hitting some beautifully timed cricket shots along the way.
“I was a bit nervous to start off with – first game nerves and stuff – I just tried to be positive and ignore the situation – stick to my strengths and just bat.”
“The worst thing I could have done in that situation was go into my shell and bat defensively; but as soon as I got going I felt pretty comfortable. I batted well with Dane van Niekerk – she was really helpful and then I felt good out there.”
“It would have been better to be in a better position and get the win but I guess you’ve got to take the little wins – I hope it has got me a bit of recognition.”
Vipers and England’s Tammy Beaumont certainly thought so:
“She batted exceptionally well,” she said. “The way she put any width away – that it’s the best I’ve seen her bat.”
“She’s put in a number of good performances before but she seems to be taking it up a notch. She must be knocking on the door for an England contract.”
Of course, England are so strong with the bat at the moment that it is hard to see how anyone breaks into the squad right now; but Dunkley is only just 20 years old and has time on her side – even if she doesn’t get the call-up for November, on the evidence of today it will come – probably sooner rather than later!