London Spirit needed to reach target of 96 in 41 balls to knock out Birmingham Phoenix – but could only do it in 58 balls; Phoenix to face Oval Invincibles in Friday’s eliminator at The Kia Oval; winner will play Southern Brave in Saturday’s Lord’s final; Welsh Fire finish bottom of table
Last Updated: 18/08/21 5:30pm
London Spirit gave it a good go against Welsh Fire but their slim hopes of reaching The Hundred Eliminator were ended, meaning it is Birmingham Phoenix who will face Oval Invincibles on Friday afternoon…
STORY OF THE MATCH
Everything must go!
Those were Tammy Beaumont’s words before London Spirit took on Welsh Fire, knowing they required a crunching victory to ramp up their run rate enough to overtake Birmingham Phoenix and qualify for the eliminator.
Spirit still had a slim chance at halfway, with Heather Knight’s side needing to chase down his target of 96 in 41 balls to gatecrash the top three, after Fire suffered another batting collapse to post just 95-9 from his 100 balls
However, the powerful Chloe Tryon, promoted to opener on reputation rather than form, made only four from seven balls and Beaumont was out for eight from seven, as Spirit’s slim hopes faded.
Deandra Dottin (12 off 6) – who may have been a much better bet to open than Tyron – fired fleetingly before Knight (34no off 19) and Danielle Gibson (34no off 19) impressed but Spirit could only reach 63 by the 41st ball.
Still, Knight and Gibson’s unbroken stand of 60 from 33 balls ensured Spirit ended their campaign with a victory – Knight’s four taking them to 96 from 58 balls – and a fourth-placed finish, having started the game in seventh place.
Fire, who finished bottom of the table with just two wins from eight games, were earlier going along rather nicely after being inserted by Spirit, reaching 45-1 off 34 balls with Bryony Smith (13 off 8) and top-scorer Georgia Redmayne ( 35 off 28) striking five early boundaries between them.
However, the Welsh side then suffered a dramatic collapse, tumbling to 50-5 after losing four wickets for five runs in 13 balls as Hayley Matthews (7), Sophie Luff (0), Alice MacLeod (2) and Piepa Cleary (0 were pinned lbw, caught behind, pouched at long-on and caught at midwicket respectively.
Knight then went on to bowl Redmayne on the cut as Fire limped to 95-9, albeit that was a few more than he should have got with Spirit making a few fielding errors towards the death.
WHAT THE RESULT MEANS
It means what we already pretty much knew – that Phoenix will play second-placed Oval Invincibles at The Kia Oval on Friday for the right to face runaway leaders Southern Brave in Saturday’s final across London at Lord’s.
Phoenix were at the bottom of the table a couple of weeks ago having lost four of their first five matches – only to go on a remarkable run of three successive victories.
They crushed Fire by 10 wickets as the Welsh team suffered one of their familiar batting collapses and Phoenix openers Shafali Verma and Eve Jones then hit unbeaten half-centuries.
Birmingham then pulled off a comeback win over Trent Rockets, reaching their target of 126 in 94 balls having been 71-6 after 58 deliveries, before rounding off their campaign with victory over Northern Superchargers on Tuesday.
Eve Jones starred again for Phoenix in that crunch victory, striking 64 from 47 balls, including six fours and three sixes, before taking a spectacular catch in the deep to remove Lauren Winfield-Hill (64) in the chase when the Superchargers were 97-1 in pursuit of 148. Phoenix are the form team and could take some stopping.
WHAT THEY SAID
London Spirit’s Tammy Beaumont: “We probably left ourselves too much to do. It was a big ask. But we tried and at least we got the win. We just kept saying ‘you can dream, you can dream’ and ‘everything must go’. It’s not to be and we probably need to look back at some other games.
“We haven’t really clicked – we have had a few contributions with the bat but nothing major. We have got just one fifty in the tournament. If we had played like we did in the field today in a few other games, we might have got a few more wins.”
Sky Sports’ Ebony Rainford-Brent: “I think the gamble of Tryon took the wind out of Spirit’s sails. When 10 balls were dried up in the game, you just knew there was no hope of them getting the runs in 41 balls.”
After Wednesday evening’s dead-rubber men’s game between Welsh Fire and London Spirit, both of whom are already eliminated, come the Eliminators themselves on Friday.
The Hundred Live
August 20, 2021, 2:30pm
The previously mentioned women’s encounter between Invincibles and Phoenix is live on Sky Sports The Hundred, Sky Sports Mix and Main Event from 2.30pm.
Brave vs Rockets
August 20, 2021, 6:00pm
Then, from 6pm on Friday, it will be the men’s Eliminator, with second-placed Brave facing third-placed Trent Rockets for the right to battle Phoenix in the men’s final.
Phoenix secured their spot in Saturday’s showpiece earlier this week as Liam Livingstone’s six blitz saw off Northern Superchargers and guaranteed the Edgbaston side topped the table.
Watch The Hundred Eliminators live on Sky Sports from 2.30pm on Friday.