Six for fit-again Langston as Diamonds beat Sunrisers

England medium pacer Beth Langston took a stunning 6-24 on her return from injury at York as she inspired Northern Diamonds to victory in her first Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy game of the season.

Following a ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament injury (ACL), Langston had only played once for the Diamonds since the end of July 2022 and had not taken a 50-over wicket since the previous September.

The 31-year-old, an unused member of England’s triumphant 2017 World Cup-winning squad on home soil, played in only one T20 match in 2023 after rupturing her right ACL during the 2022 Hundred playing for Northern Superchargers.

But she bounced seamlessly back to pick up four wickets in 12 balls as Diamonds reduced Sunrisers to 54-7 at Clifton Park before returning to take two more as the visitors were bowled out for 109 inside 31 overs.

Diamonds themselves slipped to 32-4 in reply, before Australian overseas Erin Burns secured victory with an unbeaten 35.

With three games left, Diamonds now have 30 points from nine games, sitting just a point behind leaders Vipers.

With five games to go, third-placed Sunrisers (25) and South East Stars (23) look likely to join them in the semi-finals, clear of Lancashire Thunder (14).

Vipers bite back for revenge win over Stars

Diamonds' victory put them briefly on top before a seven-wicket bonus point victory for morning leaders Southern Vipers over South East Stars put them back at the head of affairs again with three games left.

Former Stars fast bowler Freya Davies took 4-14 - her best haul since taking 4-23 in a T20 international for England against New Zealand in March 2021 - as the visitors were bowled out at Falkland, near Newbury, for 120.

Charli Knott, who had earlier taken two wickets, then hit 57 as the Vipers reached 121-3 in just 22.5 overs to help the holders avenge last month's Charlotte Edwards Cup semi-final defeat by the Stars.

Lancashire Thunder kept alive their slender hopes with a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Central Sparks at Worcester.

Despite 38 from home captain Eve Jones, Tara Norris (4-18) and fellow left-armer Sophie Morris (3-31) helped to bowl out Sparks for 144 in 42.4 overs.

Emma Lamb then hit 71 and Katie Mack 52 in an unbroken 122-run stand as Thunder cruised to victory with 21 overs to spare on 147-2.

In the day's other game, The Blaze won by five wickets in the battle of the bottom two against Western Storm at Cheltenham.

Fran Wilson top-scored with 67 before Sophie Luff's run out by Kathryn Bryce for 31 sparked a collapse in which the hosts slid from 133-2 to 217 all out.

The visitors made a great start to their chase thanks to a hard-hitting 61 from 54 balls by opener Sarah Bryce, but they then faltered to 115-5 before Lucy Higham (64) and Ella Claridge (43) shared an unbroken match-winning sixth-wicket stand of 105 in 22.3 overs.

Friday's fixture

Worcester: Central Sparks v Western Storm (10:30 BST)