Sophia Dunkley-Brown

Sophia Dunkley-Brown continues rise with splendid three-for

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Sarah Taylor played a match-winning hand as Surrey Stars got the better of Western Storm in the Women’s Cricket Super League.

But, as Taylor, who scored 50* in 34 balls to help the Stars chase down Storm’s 132/9, said afterwards, Sophia Dunkley-Brown played a huge role with her leg-spinners, sending back three big Storm batters.

All-rounder Dunkley-Brown, just 20, has never played for England, but has been moving up the ranks rapidly. If her 43-ball 66 shored up the Stars innings in their loss to Southern Vipers in the league opener, her 3/18 on Thursday, 26 July, restricted Storm to 132/9.

Her wickets: Heather Knight, Smriti Mandhana and Fran Wilson.

“This was a fantastic win for us, set up by some excellent bowling, particularly from our spinners,” said Taylor afterwards.

“Sophia Dunkley getting out Smriti Mandhana was a turning point. She’s a world-class player, and we were able to restrict the scoring once she had gone.”

Indeed, Indian opener Mandhana, who had slammed a quick 48 in Storm’s first game, looked good to score big against the Stars before Dunkley-Brown ended her innings after a 21-ball 37.

Dunkley-Brown played for the Stars last season too, but didn’t make too much of an impact. But consistent performances for Middlesex meant she was given a chance to be with the senior team during their series against New Zealand at home earlier this year.

When she got a chance against the White Ferns, Dunkley-Brown shone with the bat, scoring 63* and 91 for the English academy team.

Mandhana continued to shine, following up her 48 in the first game with 37
Mandhana continued to shine, following up her 48 in the first game with 37

Before starting the 2018 edition of the Women’s Super League, her goal was straightforward: “It’s about making a name for myself and getting a bit more noticed. If I’m able to put in a few good performances, it would help massively.

“I’ve been training with England, running drinks during the matches, seeing what it’s like to be in that environment. I’ve loved being a part of it.”

She has started piling on the performances, and she is getting recognised for them. If Dunkley-Brown can keep them coming, her wishes might come true soon. Getting the better of Knight, Mandhana and Wilson, all internationals of repute, can only help.

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