Taylor half-century helps Storm stretch lead

LONDON, CMC – West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor struck her first half-century of the Blast Twenty20 tournament in a strong all-round performance as she helped fire Western Storm to an emphatic 76-run victory over Lancashire Thunder.

Playing at Taunton on Thursday, Storm piled up 185 for four off their 20 overs, with captain Heather Knight top-scoring with 76 and Taylor carving out an unbeaten 51.

In reply, Thunder crumbled for 109 all out with 10 balls remaining, with only 19-year-old Eleanor Threlkeld showing any resistance with 33 off 32 balls while Nicole Bolton chipped in with 21 from 17 deliveries at the top of the order.

Welsh spinner Claire Nicholas, entrusted with the new ball, claimed three for 11 while Taylor supported with two for 18 from three overs of off-spin.

The victory was Storm’s sixth win of the season, allowing them to stretch their lead at the top of the standings on 28 points.

Sent in, Storm lost experienced New Zealander Rachel Priest in the first over for four with as many on the board but Knight anchored two superb partnerships to ruin Thunder’s hopes of further quick breakthroughs.

She put on 64 for the second wicket with Indian opener Smriti Mandhana whose 49 came from just 25 balls and included seven fours and a pair of sixes.

When Mandhana departed in the eighth over, Knight put on a further 102 with the right-handed Taylor who faced 37 balls and counted five fours and a six.

Knight perished at the end of the 19th over after belting nine fours and a six in a 50-ball knock.

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