Report: Southern Brave v Birmingham Phoenix Women
Trent Rockets kept their hope of qualifying for the knock-out stages of The Women’s Hundred alive with a decisive win against Phoenix by 3 runs at Trent Bridge, defending 134 for six after Bryony Smith smashed a 64 of 34 balls.
A strong performance from the home side’s bowlers gave their side a chance, restricting the Phoenix to just 131 runs for four wickets winning by a narrow margin of three runs after Amy Jones had hit 46 off 30 balls
In a must-win game, the Rockets tried to play more positive cricket in the powerplay, scoring 44 runs in 25 balls and losing just one wicket. Smith, the opener, did most of the hitting, picking up five fours and a six while scoring 34 runs off 16 balls and losing the wicket of Lizelle Lee to Sophie Devine for 3 runs of 8 balls.
Nat Sciver-Brunt, the captain of the home side, managed to maneuver her innings with 18 runs off 10 balls with other rockets middle order players but soon a short collapse resulted in a loss of momentum for the game in the middle.
Smith, who has also scored a noteworthy half-century off 28 balls by reaching the fastest fifty for the rockets. With 64 runs in 40 balls, 10 fours, and a six, opener Smith was arguably the backbone of the batting performance. However, before she was bowled by Katie Levick (2 for 30), she had scored all the runs and looked as if rockets would get 150 runs on the board but perhaps that was not the case.
Even though the rockets played outstanding cricket, their innings-long run rate per ball was only 1.34, which allowed them to set a goal of 135 for the Phoenix in just 100 balls.
Phoenix’s two best bowlers in the first half of the innings were Emily Arlott (3 for 15) and Sophie Devine (1 for 19), who only allowed 14 and 5 runs in their first two five-wicket sets while picking up three wickets between them. Phoenix’s fielding throughout the innings was ordinary with a few dropped chances, but the bowlers were able to halt the score by taking wickets at crucial times at regular intervals in the final 30 balls.
In the 135 chase, Phoenix’s openers , Eve Jones (20 off 20 balls) and Sophie Devine (29 off 24 balls), put up a 47-run partnership for the first wicket. However only two of the powerplay’s 21 runs were scored by the visiting team putting the team into the pressure.
In the powerplay, Alexa Stonehouse (20 off 20 balls ) made a strong showing with just two runs over two sets. She not only succeeded in applying pressure, but she also secured a breakthrough for the Rockets by running out the Phoenix team’s captain, Eve Jones, with an outstanding direct hit.
Phoenix batters appeared to be under more pressure at the midway point, needing 59 runs to win from 30 balls.
England’s Amy Jones set the tone with 46 off 30 balls for Phoenix, but her efforts were in vain as phoenix lost their two key wickets of Erin Burns (16 off 17 balls) and Emily Arlott (9 off 3 balls ) in a short span of time.
Rockets kept their hopes of winning the match alive with a wicket each from Kirstie Gordon and Alana King with 11 to go in the final set when the pendulum was still swinging either way.
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.