Report: Birmingham Phoenix Women v Welsh Fire
Shabnim Ismail bowled Welsh Fire to a sensational victory with a hat-trick with the last three balls of the innings to secure their three-run Women’s Hundred victory over Birmingham Phoenix at Edgbaston.
The resurgence of Fire continues after Ismail’s ice-cool display prevented the home side scoring any of the four runs they needed to win from the last three balls. The South Africa international finished with three for 31 as Phoenix, chasing 137 for seven, ended on 134 for four to suffer a heartbreaking defeat.
Tammy Beaumont’s stylish 59 (40 balls) lifted Fire to 137 but Phoenix looked in command of the chase while Tess Flintoff (44, 45 balls) and Amy Jones (48 not out, 34) were adding 93 in 67 balls. But Ismail’s brilliant hat-trick leaves the Birmingham side with a lot of work to do to climb into the qualification race after a staccato first half of the campaign has brought two defeats and two washouts.
Phoenix chose to bowl but took 48 balls to break through as openers Beaumont and Hayley Matthews added 72 before the latter (23, 23 balls) cut Hannah Baker to point.
Beaumont batted imperiously, dancing down the track to lift a gorgeous straight six off Levick on the way to a 36-ball half-century. As well as the six, the captain struck nine fours but perished in pursuit of a tenth which she lifted Flintoff to deep mid-wicket where Burns took a fine catch, stooping low to her right.
As Phoenix began to reel in the scoring rate, Laura Harris fell lbw, reverse-sweeping Emily Arlott. Sophie Dunkley (25, 19 balls) stoked the Fire again with six over mid-wicket off Arlott but Phoenix built pressure and caught well in the closing sets.
Needing to pull off the sixth-biggest chase in Women’s Hundred history, Phoenix were positively launched by Sophie Devine (29, 19 balls). Her charge was ended by Alex Griffiths’ first ball, a perfect, inswinging yorker, but Amy Jones was fluent from the moment she reached the crease.
Flintoff and Jones took their side into the last 20 balls with 27 needed but boundaries were few and Griffiths bowled beautifully to start tilting the pressure back on the home side. It came down to nine needed from the last five balls, delivered by Ismail.
A glorious cover-driven four for Flintoff brought it down to four from three, but Ismail bowled the opener next ball, had Burns caught at short third man and then bowled Issy Wong to seal the most memorable of wins.
Phoenix batter Tess Flintoff said: “We are pretty devastated. We were in a nice position there at the end and it would have been great to get our first win here at Edgbaston so we are pretty disappointed.
“We were just taking it ball by ball. Amy is a pretty calm person and really nice to bat with. We were ticking over nicely for a long time but then just let it get a bit close at the end. With nine needed from five balls we definitely felt in the game on a beautiful wicket out there, you just have to get it through the infield and it flies away. We were right in the game but it just wasn’t to be.
“It was the first time I’d batted with Amy so that was pretty cool. She is a world class player and so calm under pressure.
“We are under a little bit of pressure now but lucky that our next game is at home as well. You want to come good at the right time and that is our motto at the moment, There are four games to go, including a couple at home, so we just need to win the next one and get on a bit of a roll.”
Tickets going fast for for The Hundred
The Hundred is an unforgettable experience, bringing world-class sporting action and excitement this summer. Tickets are selling fast for all four games at Edgbaston.
Tickets this year remain great value, with prices set at £5 for juniors aged 6-15, free for children five and under, and adults starting from £18.