New recruits boost Diamonds' hopes of shining

Lauren Winfield is targeting a maiden Kia Super League Finals Day appearance as Yorkshire Diamonds get their campaign underway tomorrow.

The Diamonds’ captain and England top order bat is confident a new-look squad can secure a top-three finish in the group stage to qualify for Finals Day at Hove on August 27.

Winfield takes her side to Taunton for tomorrow’s televised opener against champions Western Storm (2.30pm), although they will have to do without star all-rounder Katherine Brunt due to a back injury that also rules her out of next Friday’s Roses clash at Emerald Headingley.

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Winfield, 27, says this competition provides her with the ideal opportunity to stake a claim for this winter’s World T20 in the West Indies, with her currently on the fringes of the white-ball sides.

“With there being 10 group games as opposed to five I think it’s going to be a better competition, and I’ve got really high expectations of the group,” said Winfield.

“Our goal is to be at Finals Day. From there anything can happen. But we have to have our sights set on that.”

Diamonds have recruited strongly this off-season, landing the Australian duo of Beth Mooney and Delissa Kimmince as well as Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu

“It’s very different personnel in the group. We only have six or seven players from last year,” said Winfield.

“Myself and Paul (Grayson, coach) felt we needed to have a shift in terms of bringing in more youth with potential and energy. We’ve also had a change with our overseas players. Hopefully that strengthens our side.

“Beth Mooney is one of the best female T20 players on the planet at the minute. Delissa Kimmince has also had a fantastic last six to eight months with Australia, especially with the ball. Atapattu performed well for us last year.”

Storm are boosted by the England trio Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole and Fran Wilson.

“It will be a good marker,” said Winfield.