Tash Farrant puts seal on crushing win with five-wicket haul at Chelmsford
South East Stars 324 for 7 (Dunkley 104*) beat Sunrisers 189 (Farrant 5-33) by 135 runs
Sophia Dunkley earned the applause of Lisa Keightley as her century set up a crushing 135-run bonus point victory for South East Stars over Sunrisers.
All-rounder Dunkley smashed an unbeaten 104 off 93 balls to send the Stars to a record highest Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy total of 324 for 7.
Dunkley, who has played 15 international T20s, is hoping to make her ODI debut this summer with India and New Zealand touring and will have impressed an on-looking England head coach Keightley.
Smith was the more aggressive, pulling a six in just the second over and another to bring up a 53-ball fifty – comfortably bettering her best score of 8 in last year’s truncated competition.
Davidson-Richards joined her at the milestone in 63 balls before Kelly Castle entered the attack and halted the visitors’ progress.
The Essex-born seamer had Smith well caught at square leg with her first delivery before picking up Davidson-Richards and Alice Capsey in consecutive deliveries soon after – eventually returning 3 for 40.
Dunkley rebuilt, initially steadily, but with Aylish Cranstone began to find her tempo while playing strongly in front of the wicket.
Cranstone, Kirstie White and Farrant fell in quick succession but Dunkley went past her 51-ball half-century for the seventh time in her last eight List A innings.
Partnerships of 53 and 44 with the destructive Grace Gibbs and Rhianna Southby pushed the Stars over 300 before Dunkley firmly swept through mid-on to wave her bat on her third 50-over hundred – with Keightley clapping the impressive knock.
Left-armer Farrant made sure the chase was never really on for Sunrisers as she had Cordelia Griffin and Amara Carr caught within the first nine overs.
The Stars captain then picked up Lissy MacLeod and Fran Wilson in her sixth over before Sunrisers retaliated in the shape of a 73-run stand between Mady Villiers and Naomi Dattani. Gibbs broke the stand by castling Villiers before Dattani was bowled for 47.
The required run-rate continued to grow exponentially to leave the chase to fizzle out, with Farrant and Smith taking the last two wickets.