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    Sunrisers comfortable as Grewcock and Hancock dismantle Storm
Sunrisers comfortable as Grewcock and Hancock dismantle Storm
Nicola Hancock enjoyed a successful Sunrisers debut. Source: Getty Images

Sunrisers comfortable as Grewcock and Hancock dismantle Storm

Jodi Grewcock and Nicola Hancock picked up three wickets apiece as Sunrisers kicked off their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Western Storm at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Seamer Hancock took 3 for 15 from 5.4 overs and teenager Grewcock, bowling unchanged for 10 overs, returned impressive figures of 3 for 28 with her legbreaks as Storm were dismissed for a woefully inadequate 114 from 30.4 overs.

Offspinner Mady Villiers took 2 for 36. Esmae MacGregor took a wicket and a run out as Sunrisers put in a disciplined performance in the field after winning the toss. Only Nat Wraith offered any meaningful resistance with the bat, top-scoring with 42 as Storm began this season in the same way they ended the last. They suffered a heavy defeat.

Sunrisers skipper Grace Scrivens then led by example with a composed 63, sharing a reassuring 59 for the second wicket with Cordelia Griffith as the visitors comfortably overhauled their target with 16.2 overs remaining.

Sunrisers, who won their final four matches of last season, have picked up where they left off. They will be in confident mood ahead of their next match against Thunder at Sale. Storm, meanwhile, have now been beaten in their last five outings in the 50-over competition and will need to improve before they travel to Headingley to face Northern Diamonds on Wednesday.

Put in to bat, Storm was unable to recover from the loss of early wickets and were shot out in 31 overs, with only three batsmen reaching double figures in an innings the home side will be keen to forget.

Hancock produced a probing new-ball spell to remove Alex Griffiths for 2, but fellow opener Sophia Smale responded positively, hitting three leg-side boundaries to take her score to 16. Then disaster struck as Smale edged Villiers behind point for a quick single, only to collide with partner Sophie Luff halfway down the track and be run out by MacGregor as she regained her feet.

That unfortunate mishap was the catalyst for a dramatic collapse that saw five wickets fall in just 8.1 overs as Storm slumped to 64 for 6, their top-order and middle-order batting undermined by spin. Luff played and missed a Grewcock delivery that nipped back and was adjudged lbw for 7, while Dani Gibson was also undone by the England Under-19 leg-spinner, playing back to a ball that struck her on the pad and departed for 3.

At the other end, Villiers, with her off-breaks, trapped Katie Jones in the crease and then struck a telling blow, inducing former England opener Fran Wilson to drive straight to Jo Gardner at mid-on. Wilson was on 18 and with her went Storm's best chance of a competitive total.

Fearing she would run out of partners before she could do anything about the precarious situation, Wraith took a straightforward approach, dominating stands of 24 and 26 with Niamh Holland and Amanda-Jade Wellington for the seventh and eighth wickets respectively. But Holland finally offered a return catch to MacGregor and Wellington missed a drive to extra cover, while Grewcock continued to use clever variations in flight to strike again in her final over.

Trying to take matters into her own hands, Wraith lofted half a dozen boundaries as she took the fight to the Sunrisers bowlers, her luck finally running out when she hoisted one off the returning Hancock to deep midwicket. Her combative 42-ball innings spanned 52 balls and at least allowed the embattled Storm to reach three figures.

Hancock needed just four deliveries to wrap up the innings when she had Chloe Skelton caught at the wicket, the seventh Storm player to fall either for single figures or without scoring.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Storm's bowlers did everything they could to apply pressure, and new overseas recruit Wellington provided a silver lining when he was given out lbw to remove Ariana Dowse with the score on 21 in the eighth over. The Australian international spinner made a good first impression on her debut, finishing with figures of 1 for 24 from nine overs and giving the top-order batsmen enough trouble to suggest she will make a positive impact in Storm colours this season.

But the relentless Scrivens survived all attempts to remove her, playing a captain's innings to ensure her team reached their target without any undue drama. She found the perfect partner in Griffith, who took on the role of chief support in an innings of 28 off 48 balls that included a quartet of fours before she holed out to Holland in the deep off the bowling of Skelton.

Undeterred, Scrivens went on to reach 50 off 65 balls with her ninth four, a flowing cover drive that was plundered at the expense of Griffiths. Perhaps fittingly, given her performance with the ball earlier, Grewcock hit the winning runs as she finished unbeaten on 15.

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