Report: Welsh Fire v Birmingham Phoenix Women
Birmingham Phoenix notched the second highest total in the history of The Hundred in the women’s competition, 161, as they beat Welsh Fire by 19 runs at a blisteringly hot Sophia Gardens.
After a slowish start in which they were scoring at a run a ball in the first 20, they picked up the pace to take 22 runs off the next set of five balls from Annabel Sutherland.
In the end, knocks of 48 from skipper Sophie Devine, 58 from Elyse Perry and a run a ball 29 from Sophie Molineux helped them reach 161-5 to set the home side a massive task. Skipper Tammy Beaumont led the charge with a 47 run opening partnership with Hayley Matthews.
Matthews hammered 20 off 15 balls, while Beaumont notched 39 of 34 before she was stumped by Amy Jones off opposing skipper Sophie Devine. Despite going down by 19 runs, the Fire went on to bag their highest score in the competition with 142-5.
Having reached the eliminator last season, the Phoenix recruited well in the off-season and made a good fist of being put in by the Fire. Aussie import Ellyse Perry enjoyed a brilliant debut in the tournament and her excellent innings of 58 off 31 balls included 10 fours to earn her the Hero of the Match award.
Having seen Eve Jones and Amy Jones fall very cheaply at the top of the innings, she dug in with Devine to put on 46 for the third wicket with her captain. Between them they turned that conservative start into a innings with real momentum and Devine hit four fours and two sixes in her 39.
Those two maximum strikes came off Hayley Matthews in her first over and as 18 runs came in her first set of five. That made it 39 runs off 10 balls to take it out to 60 off 30 and a final flourish took them to their best ever total – five runs short of the 166 notched by the Northern Superchargers against the Fire last summer.
Lauren Filer, with 20 runs off her 20 balls was the pick of the Fir bowlers, with Claire Nicholas taking 2-26. The chase from the Fire was energetic and innovative, with a ramp shot from Beaumont for six being the highlight.
The skipper steered her team to 32 runs in the powerplay and looked set with Matthews until the latter was caught off the second ball from Abtaha Maqsood for a sparkling 20. Rachel Hynes hit some nice shot in her quickfire 14 and Sutherland notched 34 before she departed.
There was a spirited 20 in 12 balls from Fran Wilson before she was run out and, in the end, the Fire fell a short.
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.