Shafali Verma and Eve Jones take Birmingham Phoenix victory in 10-wicket rout
Superb fieldwork and fierce hitting with the bat secured Birmingham Phoenix’s first expected victory at Edgbaston on Monday.
The hosts demolished the 10-wicket Welsh Fire, after working hard to keep their visitors to just 127 with the bat. The elegant Eve Jones (52 *) and the imperious Shafali Verma (76 *) have used an impressive half-century each as they cleared the slopes with relative ease to keep their hopes of qualifying in life.
Despite all their faults on the field last Wednesday against the Oval Invincibles, in which coach Ben Sawyer called the drop in catches “contagious,” the Phoenix dusted themselves off here and came away to put together a pretty brilliant collective display. with the ball.
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There were a couple of slips on the field, one costing a few bowling runs at Abtaha Maqsood’s bowling alley, but their handling of the ball and the poise the bowlers and defensive players showed to combine and claim three outings have largely slowed down. low the rate of running and upsetting the sleeves of fire.
The forerunners actually scored quickly, having been put in place by Amy Jones – this despite not having the quick injured Issy Wong, who will hopefully be available on Friday. Bryony Smith was comfortably the top scorer at 38, and she and Hayley Matthews reached 36-0 before the latter fell, exhausted by the return of Emily Arlott.
Smith and Georgia Redmayne attempted to resume fire, but Redmayne returned a delivery directly to pitcher Erin Burns and was pulled out.
Arlott’s clever judgment to appeal a LBW scream and take it to DRS was rewarded with captain Sophie Luff’s wicket, before a poignant moment when Amy Jones – the current England goalkeeper – strongly baffled his predecessor, the dangerous Sarah Taylor.
The race between the wickets was particularly bad, but the Phoenixes have to take credit for the pressure they put in attacking the ball and squeezing the hitters.
With their sleeves stalled, Piepa Cleary and Katie George failed to make their way trying to run in singles and the collapse continued.
George’s burnout was the first delivery after Georgia Hennessey was beaten by Kirstie Gordon, and so when the same pitcher threw an LBW cry against Alice Macleod on the third delivery, the whole team did, hoping a team hat trick.
The wicket was given, but with the fire severely disturbed and needing Macleod – the only recognized hitter still there – to help them until the end, they took him upstairs. It was cruelly deemed to lack stump and the decision was overturned.
What a finish, however, by the Phoenix. They took seven wickets for the price of just 33 points and found themselves chasing 128. What they needed was a start to the round that was as solid as it was determined.
Quite frankly, Jones and Verma made minced meat from the hunt. We’ve waited awhile for the world’s top T20 hitter to really, fully display her undoubted qualities, and Verma has done it here with a pretty amazing range of hitting.
Anything far away was dispatched, and Verma also swept powerfully, using the side of the leg to her advantage. Jones, in comparison, took a bit of a while to start, but with the Phoenix needing less of a ball run in the second half of her pursuit, she also competed with some great shots.
The only frustration was the delay of the rain in the middle of the heats, but for which they would have completed this victory earlier. However, chasing 128 in the space of 76 bullets is not bad. They are still there with a shout in the direction of Trent Bridge.