Preview: Sunrisers vs Northern Diamonds


The Northern Diamonds have been stung and are intent on bouncing back against the Sunrisers at The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford tomorrow (6.30pm).


Saturday’s 12-run defeat against cross-Pennine rivals Thunder in the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup opener at Emerald Headingley was tough to take.


“Being in that changing room, it’s not a feeling we want to experience again,” admitted left-arm spinner Linsey Smith.


“Hopefully it gives us that fight to come out on Friday and get that win.”


The Diamonds, for whom Sarah Taylor is expected to play following concussion, had enjoyed a productive start to the summer in 50-over cricket, sitting second in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table with three wins from four games.


And they looked set to continue that trend having restricted the Lancashire-based Thunder to 118-6 with a polished bowling display, including Smith’s impressive 1-23 from four overs.


But they returned a disappointing batting performance, stuttering from 30-0 after three overs to 41-3 after 10 and later 106-9 after 20 as Emma Lamb claimed an excellent 4-13 with her off-spinners.


“We were happy with the total in the first half,” said Smith.


“We bowled well as a unit, which is something we’ve done all season really. But you’d hope to put in a better batting performance. It was frustrating.”


As the Diamonds slipped to defeat, the Sunrisers claimed a notable seven-wicket victory chasing 130 over Western Storm.


It was their very first win in the regional structure following 10 successive 50-over defeats dating back to the start of last summer. They lost four from four this year following all six last.


At the start of June, the Diamonds beat the Sunrisers by nine wickets at Cambridge chasing only 54. The duration of the game lasted less than 30 overs.


Tomorrow’s fixture is the second of three Charlotte Edwards Cup games before the mid-season break for the Hundred.


“It’s a massive couple of weeks,” said Smith.


“We want to put Saturday behind us and get a couple of wins on the board to set us up for the back end of the summer and also for the Hundred.


“There’s of a lot of us playing for the Superchargers, and we want to build as much momentum as we can.”


Wicketkeeper Taylor is on course to play after a symptom free week having been struck on the neck by a rising delivery from Beth Langston at the end of the Thunder innings on Saturday.


If that condition remains the same over the next 24 hours, she will play. If she suffers any kind of adverse reaction, the Diamonds will take no chances and withdraw her.

Smith, 26, has had a disruptive summer so far.


Having had to contend with rehabilitation following a back injury, she missed the Diamonds low-scoring 50-over win over Lightning at Kibworth.


But in the games she has played - three RHF Trophy games and Saturday’s T20 clash - the Oxfordshire spinner has bowled nicely, claiming six wickets.


“It’s been tough,” she said. “I’ve been coming back from my back injury, so I’ve had to take things slow and not get ahead of myself really.


“I’m happy to be out there playing again.


“I did a lot of work on my action with Dani (coach, Hazell) over the winter, and I’m really enjoying putting it out there in the games. As far as I’m concerned I’m happy.


“It’s just been a few tweaks in my action to become more of a threat in the 50-over game really - bowling that bit slower and trying to turn the ball more.


“My career previously, I’ve not really been known as a big turner of the ball. This season, it’s something I’ve wanted to change.”


As aforementioned, Smith will play for the Headingley based Superchargers in the forthcoming Hundred and is expecting spinners to play a “massive” part.


“Look at Emma Lamb against us on Saturday,” she added.


“She bowled brilliantly. And if you’ve got the option of 10 balls instead of the usual six, that can really build pressure.”

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