Northern Diamonds have been quick to put behind what was a disastrous CE Cup campaign. They are placed 2nd on the table and would be looking to take the 1st spot in order to qualify automatically for the final. Whereas, Lightning faces a must-win scenario with just 1 win in 3 games. However, Lightning have been bolstered by the return of Tammy Beaumont, Marie Kelly, Grace Ballinger, and Kirstie Gordon.
Lightning: Sarah Bryce (wk), Marie Kelly, Tammy Beaumont, Kathryn Bryce (C), Bethan Ellis, Josie Groves, Lucy Higham, Sophie Munro, Grace Ballinger, Kirstie Gordon, Teresa Graves
Possible changes: 1) Tammy Beaumont for Bethany Harmer, 2) Kirstie Gordon for Alicia Presland, 3) Grace Ballinger for Piepa Cleary, 4) Marie Kelly for Gwenan Davies
Northern Diamonds: Lauren Winfield-Hill (wk), Linsey Smith, Hollie Armitage (C), Sterre Kalis, Bess Heath, Phoebe Turner, Beth Langston, Leigh Kasperek, Katie Levick, Rachel Slater, Emma Marlow
Possible changes: None
VENUE: Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street
CLS has very long square boundaries. While the pitches here are good for batting, it's the dimension that gets the better of the batters. This should be a venue dominated by the spinners.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
All Northern Diamonds' spinners: The most significant spin attack in the entire competition. In fact, safe to say that the Northern Diamonds possess the best spin attack among any domestic team in the world & they will be the driving factor for this game. Katie Levick - Linsey Smith - Emma Marlow - Leigh Kasperek - Hollie Armitage = Quintet of destruction! The same quintet shared 22 wickets at a shocking average of 4.4 at the death in the group stage of the CE Cup.
The reason why they will play a massive part is not because of the pitch, but the dimensions at the CLS. While the ropes will be pulled in, it should still be enough for these spinners to have an impact.
Josie Groves: A leg-spinner with immense talent coming through the ranks quickly. Josie Groves stands out from the rest as she is quicker through the air like Hannah Baker. The more consistent she becomes with her line, the more damage she can do.
Kirstie Gordon: Kirstie Gordon is expected to be back for this game and she should relish bowling at this venue.
Tammy Beaumont: Beaumont is returning on the back of a very impactful South Africa ODI series & she will be looking to translate that form into the domestics.