Preview: Northern Diamonds vs Thunder


Beth Langston believes her game would be better served now to deal with the rigours of international cricket than it was when she last represented England in 2016.


Aside from a couple of injury setbacks, including a bout of concussion, Langston is enjoying an extremely productive summer for the Northern Diamonds, taking 13 wickets in seven competitive appearances added to scores of 59 not out and 46 not out.


Predominantly a pacy opening bowler, the 29-year-old is moving towards all-rounder status.


And her form has not gone unnoticed within England circles.


Late last month, she played for England’s A team in a 50-over friendly win against New Zealand at Derby.


“I’m at the stage where I’m just trying to enjoy my cricket and not focus on too much higher up,” she said, having played four ODIs and two T20Is between 2013 and 2016.


“If I perform well for the Diamonds and something else happens from it, then great. But, if not, I’m just really happy performing well here and striving for trophies with the girls.”


Langston is certainly doing her part where the latter is concerned.


Having missed the final four Charlotte Edwards Cup matches, including Finals Day at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday, with a quad injury, she returned to action at Emirates Riverside in Durham yesterday.


She claimed 2-30 in the resounding seven-wicket win over Western Storm, chasing 184, which keeps the Diamonds on course for Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy success.


The Essex-born star will hope to contribute again at the same venue when tomorrow the Diamonds host cross-Pennine rivals Thunder (10.30am) in the penultimate group game.


Victory could seal a place in the top three for knockout cricket, but the main goal is to secure top spot in the group for direct qualification for the September 25 final at Northampton.


It is highly likely that the top four teams in the group - Southern Vipers on 19 points, Diamonds 18, Central Sparks 17 and South East Stars 13 - will fight it out for the top three places.


Added to her six previous international appearances (three wickets), Langston was also part of England’s 2017 one-day World Cup-winning squad on home soil without playing.


“I felt like I perhaps could have given more on the international stage,” she said. “And a few years down the line, I think I’m a lot better cricketer now than I was when I last represented England.”


Langston, one of the Diamonds five contracted players has been ultra consistent with the ball this summer.


In her seven appearances, she has not yet failed to take a wicket and has taken two wickets in six matches across both 50-over and T20 cricket.


But her two significant contributions with the bat have been vitally important to the cause; 56 not out in a come from behind 50-over win against South East Stars at Emerald Headingley in June and the unbeaten 46 in a similar T20 victory over Sunrisers at Gosforth late last month.


“It’s just nice having a bit more responsibility with the bat,” she added.


“It’s quite easy, once you find yourself towards the lower order, to get stuck there. So it’s been nice to bat a bit higher and take those opportunities.”


Tomorrow will see the Diamonds faced with a Thunder side all but out of contention for the knockouts having lost three of their five matches so far.


Yesterday, they were beaten by defending champions and current league leaders Southern Vipers by three wickets at Sale.


Vipers made hard work of chasing 110 following a spirited bowling performance from the Red Rose side, whose batting was only just held together by England’s Kate Cross with a half-century.


But Cross and Lauren Winfield-Hill will not be available to play tomorrow having been selected in England’s ODI squad for the forthcoming series against New Zealand.

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