Report: Birmingham Phoenix Women v Oval Invincibles
Oval Invincibles kept their Women’s Hundred campaign alive with an impressive ten-run win over Birmingham Phoenix at Edgbaston.
Invincibles overpowered the struggling home side after piling up 142 for five thanks to Marizanne Kapp’s blistering 64 not out (40 balls) and Lauren Winfield-Hall’s composed 41 (33 balls).
The Phoenix reply was given a thrilling launch by Sophie Devine (53, 34 balls) but after she fell to Ryana MacDonald-Gay the chase lost impetus. Phoenix fell short on 132 for six and remain rooted to the foot of the table, still without a win from a bitterly disappointing campaign.
Invincibles, meanwhile, are right back in the mix after victory from a game they dominated from ball one. Put in, they started solidly with openers Winfield-Hill and Suzie Bates adding 31 in 27 balls, assisted by some untidy fielding.
Their progress was stalled by Katie Levick who broke through with wickets in successive balls on the way to taking two wickets for just one run in her first set. Levick turned one past the charging Bates for Amy Jones to complete a simple stumping before Alice Capsey attempted to cut her first ball and nicked it to the wicketkeeper.
That untidy fielding included a reprieve for Winfield-Hall who was dropped on nine by Sterre Kalis at backward point off Tess Flintoff, and the opener made Phoenix pay in a stand of 59 in 42 balls with Kapp.
After Winfield-Hall lifted Hannah Baker to long on, Paige Scholfield kept the rate high with a nine-ball 17 before Kapp took the total from decent to daunting with a ferocious late onslaught. The South African posted a 34-ball half-century as she smashed most of the 26 which came from the last ten balls.
Phoenix needed a flying start and Devine supplied it with an exhibition of clean hitting which saw her side race to 50 in just 26 balls. Her second six took her to a 26-ball half-century including 40 in fours and sixes.
It was high-quality striking which lifted the home fans’ hopes of a win to keep their campaign alive but Devine’s next attempt to land a six, off MacDonald-Gay, found only the calm hands of Kapp at long-leg. Amy Jones soon chopped MacDonald-Gay to short third man and Erin Burns’ counter-attack was terminated by a straight ball from Scholfield as the required rate escalated.
When Flintoff (27, 33 balls) charged and missed at Scholfield, 39 were needed from 14 balls – far too many as Invincibles closed out a much-needed win.
Phoenix Assistant Coach Dominic Ostler said: “We set the tone in the field in the first 25 balls when we let a few through our legs. It was an overall fairly sloppy performance. You always make your life difficult when you drop their best players and we dropped Kappy when she was on 30-odd. We didn’t back the bowlers up in the field and that cost us at the end of the game when we fell 15 or 20 short. When you drop one of the best players in the world, they capitalise, and Kappy played beautifully.
“Then Sophie hit the ball fantastically well and got us off to exactly the start we wanted. We were ahead of the rate and got ourselves into a winning position, just like the other day. But credit to their bowlers, they came back in the middle and penned us in and took wickets. After Soph got out we just couldn’t seem to get any momentum.
“We may be out of the tournament but we have got an awful lot to play for. We have pride to play for. We need to get off the bottom of the table because I don’t think we are a bottom of the table side, and we have got three games to do that,
“The girls have got to dust themselves off and show a bit of resilience and come out fighting in the next three games.”
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