Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: Southern Vipers into final after topping group | Cricket News

Georgia Elwiss steers Southern Vipers to victory over Northern Diamonds in a tricky chase of 257 with a magnificent unbeaten 84 off 77 balls; the Diamonds will face Central Sparks in a play-off on Wednesday for the right to take on the Vipers in Saturday’s final

Last Updated: 18/09/21 6:28pm

Georgia Elwiss struck an unbeaten 84 off 77 balls to steer Southern Vipers to victory and through to the final

Georgia Elwiss struck an unbeaten 84 off 77 balls to steer Southern Vipers to victory and through to the final

Southern Vipers beat Northern Diamonds by five wickets at the Ageas Bowl to finish top of the table and book their place in next Saturday’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final.

In a winner-takes-all clash, Georgia Elwiss steered her side home in a tricky chase of 257 with a magnificent unbeaten 84 off 77 balls, while captain Georgia Adams also cracked 67 at the top of the order.

Diamonds opted to bat first but were bowled out for 256 in 48.3 overs, despite an aggressive 71 off 51 balls from Bess Heath and a career-best 49 by Leah Dobson.

Vipers vs Diamonds scorecard

The Northern side were pegged back early on by Lauren Bell, who returned fine figures of 2-29 from her 10 overs, and though Heath and Dobson led a middle-order resurgence, their slow start ultimately cost them.

Diamonds, as runners-up in the table, will now host Central Sparks in the 2nd/3rd place play-off on Wednesday to determine who will face Southern Vipers in the final.

Sparks did not enjoy the best of preparation for that effective semi-final against Diamonds as they suffered a 22-run defeat to Lightning in their final RHF group game. Lightning vs Sparks scorecard

Lightning skipper Kathryn Bryce was the star of the show, striking a superb, career-best 162 to see her side up to a season-high score of 320-6 from their 50 overs after being asked to bat first.

A bonus-point win for Sparks could have seen them top the group on net run-rate depending on the outcome of the Vipers and Diamonds clash in Southampton, but that would have required them to overhaul Lightning’s score inside 40 overs.

Unsurprisingly, that proved beyond them and, despite half-centuries from openers Eve Jones (60) and Marie Kelly (62) helping them also to a season-high score of 296-9, they lost by 24 runs.

Elsewhere, Sophie Luff scored a career-best 157 not out in Bristol to propel Western Storm to a 36-run triumph over Sunrisers, who suffered their seventh defeat out of seven in the competition. Storm vs Sunrisers scorecard

Storm skipper Luff hit 22 fours in her 142-ball knock, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 119 with Alex Griffiths (56) as Storm racked up 313-4 with all of the Sunrisers bowlers, bar Mady Villiers (2-39), having days to forget.

Sunrisers were 90-0, thanks to openers Cordelia Griffith (49) and Grace Scrivens (46), and 202-3 in reply but faded to 277 all out to end the campaign rock bottom of the table with zero points.

At Beckenham, spinners Hannah Jones and Alex Hartley produced bewitching spells as Thunder ended their campaign with a 55-run win over South East Stars. Stars vs Thunder scorecard

Jones claimed 5-33 from nine overs and Hartley 2-17 off 10 as Stars were rolled for 130 in precisely 25 overs having been set 186 for victory after dismissing Thunder in 47 overs earlier in the day.

Stars – who won the 20-over Charlotte Edwards Cup earlier this month – saw opener Kalea Moore top-score with just 35 before she was dismissed by Hartley, who went on remove Alice Capsey (9).

Jones shredded the middle order, including Grace Gibbs for 11, as Thunder ran out handsome winners, despite having been rolled for just 185 after electing to bat.

Ellie Threlkeld’s 70 from 92 balls was the standout knock – the next highest scorer for Thunder was Georgie Boyce (20) – while Stars spinners Danielle Gregory and Capsey claimed two wickets each.

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