Report: London Spirit v Birmingham Phoenix Women
Grace Scrivens and Naomi Dattani’s 57-run partnership rescued London Spirit in a low-scoring contest to defeat Birmingham Phoenix by four wickets and end the visitors’ hopes of securing a place in the knockout stages.
The Phoenix were rattled out for just 82 – with Megan Schutt, Amelia Kerr and Danielle Gibson each claiming two wickets – before Spirit crashed to 26 for six in reply.
Dattani (28) and Scrivens (26) held their nerve when it counted, though, to take Spirit home with three balls to spare. Birmingham knew they needed a win to have any chance of extending their season but produced a below-par performance with the bat.
England international Freya Davies made the initial breakthrough when Sophie Molineux slashed a wide ball straight to Kerr at point.
Then it was Schutt’s turn to shine, producing a peach of a ball which seamed between bat and pad to castle Amy Jones. Not content with that, Schutt struck again with her next delivery, removing her Australia team-mate Ellyse Perry who cut into the hands of wicketkeeper Beth Mooney.
Eve Jones kept out the hat-trick ball, but Phoenix were in deeper trouble when captain Sophie Devine set off for a single which was never there and was run out by Charlie Dean before she could recover her ground.
Jones and Georgia Elwiss briefly threatened to rally the visitors, but the latter fell trying to scoop Gibson, while the latter fell to a stunning catch by skipper Dean from the bowling of Scrivens.
Incredible tag-fielding between Grace Monaghan and Dattani on the rope accounted for Emily Arlott before Ria Fackrell’s indecision cost her to be run out as Phoenix were hustled out for 82 with six balls left.
Spirit were skittled for 80 in their previous game against Oval Invincibles and the chase got off to a terrible start – Gibson holing out on the fence for her fourth duck of the campaign.
It became worse when Mooney, top scorer for Spirit with 205 runs in six innings, was run out by an incredible direct hit from Devine and Jones took Kerr with an extraordinary diving catch.
Dean’s first boundary came after 17 balls and in the next as Spirit limped to 11 for three at the end of the powerplay.
A brief partnership started to flourish between Sophie Luff and Dean, however Arlott forced the former to chip the ball into the air where it was safely pouched by Perry.
Elwiss and Fackrell too the key wickets of Dean and Monaghan were taken, which brought Dattani and Scrivens together with the score 26 for six from 43 balls.
They played a measured stand – with boundaries some 45 balls apart – but it was enough to bring the match to the wire with 12 needed from the final 10 balls.
Molineux crucially bowled a no-ball to cost her team a free hit, as the pressure eased for the hosts who needed two in four balls.
Scrivens sealed the match to secure Spirit’s second win of the competition.