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A defiant 69 from Aylish Cranstone was not enough as South East Stars fell 58 runs short of Southern Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at The Ageas Bowl.

Vipers’ former England spinner Smith bagged a no-thrills 51, her first half-century in 50-over cricket, before taking three for 34 to set up a bonus point victory for the home side.

Smith was the lynchpin for Vipers’ 254 – which saw Ella McCaughan and Georgia Adams score 40s as Stars’ Dani Gregory took a brilliant a four-for.

Aylish Cranstone cracked 69 but Vipers leap-frogged Stars into second and leave qualification for the Eliminator in their own hands, while Stars will progress if they beat Central Sparks in the last round of fixtures.

Vipers chose to bat but found early going slow, with only 27 runs coming in the opening 10 overs – with Alexa Stonehouse picking up Abi Norgrove’s wicket and Ryana Macdonald-Gay accurate from the other end.

Ella McCaughan and Georgia Adams accelerated with 54 coming from the following seven overs before the former swung to long on and Georgia Elwiss was run out for the second game in a row.

Adams continued her fine form with seven boundaries in a glossy 49, barely missing out on a fifth straight 50 when she top-edged to square leg.

Emily Windsor had drilled to cover as Vipers looked limply at an under-par total on 128 for five but Freya Kemp’s whacking and Smith’s belligerence helped Vipers’ cause.

Kemp’s two sixes headlined the 48-run stand before slogging to long on, with Gregory completing her four for 55 by pinning Alice Monaghan lbw.

Smith only scored three boundaries, two of which coming from edges, in her maiden Vipers fifty, however it came in 56 balls to highlight her strong running.

Rhianna Southby chipped away with 21 off 24 but Vipers were bowled out in 48.2 overs with Smith caught at long on, Southby bowled and Ava Lee well caught behind.

In reply, Stars grappled through the powerplay, also scoring 27, but lost captain Bryony Smith and Kira Chathli as Linsey Smith continued her fine game.

Jemima Spence and Cranstone built the foundations of the chase with a 58-run stand before the former pulled to deep square.

Paige Scholfield and Kalea Moore fell to the increasingly impressive teenage Lee, while on loan from Vipers Chloe Hill was plumb in front to Mary Taylor.

Left-handed batter Cranstone completed her first half-century of the season in 48 deliveries after an innings filled with stylish off-side stroke play.

But Adams bowled her for 69 after adding 45 with Stonehouse, who perished soon after to Linsey Smith’s third.

Bethan Miles was leg before to Adams – who took two for 41 – and after a 46-run 10th wicket stand, MacDonald-Gay was caught at deep midwicket.