Kia Super League: Yorkshire Diamonds’ star Devine delighted at league’s double expansion plan

Yorkshire Diamonds' overseas duo Sophie Devine and Chamari Atapattu. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Yorkshire Diamonds' overseas duo Sophie Devine and Chamari Atapattu. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Yorkshire overseas all-rounder Sophie Devine has hailed the Kia Super League’s impending move from five games to 10 from next summer.

It was announced prior to the start of this year’s campaign that the competition will double in matches for 2018, something which the powerful New Zealander believes “needs to happen”.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said the 27-year-old former hockey international, who played for Loughborough last year and says she has seen an improvement in the standard during the last fortnight.

“Although five games is short and sweet, it probably doesn’t show a true reflection.

“It was always going to be tricky squeezing it in this year with the World Cup. But 10 games home and away should be great. More cricket can only benefit the girls.

“Right around the competition, everyone is getting better. It’s not just one or two teams.

“That’s starting to build a bit more of an identity as well in terms of the styles in which teams play. That’s really exciting. Teams will go about it differently, and that’s what you want.

“It’s only going to go from strength to strength with increased exposure after the World Cup and the increase in games from next year.

“The game’s in a really good place at the moment.”

For Devine personally, this campaign has been a frustrating one.

Her bowling has been limited due to a side injury picked up at the World Cup, while she scored 11, one and two in her first three KSL innings.

In the defeat against Western Storm at York on Sunday, she then showed what she is capable of with a destructive 41.

Unfortunately, however, her compatriot Rachel Priest scored a century to help the visitors comfortably reel in a 161 target. She is hoping to save her best for Saturday’s final group game against Southern Vipers at Arundel, likely to be a must win game if the Diamonds are to qualify for Finals Day on September 1 – Devine’s 28th birthday.

Yorkshire are currently third on eight points with two wins and two defeats. Storm are fourth on the same points, but with an inferior net run-rate. They have a game in hand tomorrow against leaders Surrey at the Oval before hosting lowly Lancashire on Saturday.

“It’s a tough one,” said Devine. “Cricket, especially Twenty20, is a pretty fickle game.

“I haven’t really done much, and it’s frustrating. But we’ve had some really good performances from others in the team.

“I can only contribute as much off the park as possible and hope it comes off like it did on Sunday, but for a bit longer.

“I was just a bit disappointed I didn’t kick on. That’s what it needed – either me or Lauren Winfield to kick on and get a big score like Priest did for them.

“There’s been a few positives. Our bowling and fielding has been fantastic. Sunday was probably our worst performance.

“At the start of the season, we would probably have said that our batting was our strong point.

“There’s been some awesome performances – Chamari Atapattu, Lauren and Katherine Brunt.

“It’s just about putting it all together in one game.

“The domestic players have improved and lifted themselves from last year and in the early stages of this. They have to keep getting better.”