Burns keeps Birmingham's hopes alive with a thrilling win

Kalyani Mangale
New Update
Burns keeps Birmingham's hopes alive with a thrilling win

Burns and Gordon © Getty Images

Sammy-Jo Johnson’s three-fer went in vain as Birmingham Phoenix kept their finals hope alive in The Hundred with a three-wicket win over hosts Trent Rockets at Trent Bridge on Friday (August 13). Erin Burns starred for the visitors with 38 runs as Kirstie Gordon celebrated International Left Hander's Day with a three-fer of her own.

Phoenix won the toss and decided to bowl first with one change to their playing XI, Phoebe Franklin made way for Issy Wong, who missed the match against Welsh Fire. The match was crucial for the fourth-placed Rockets as well as seventh-placed Phoenix as both teams still had an opportunity to push their case for the spot in the eliminator.

Rockets started well in the power play as Rachel Priest effortlessly hit a six over long-on off Gordon. In the very next set of five, Johnson belted the free-hit on offer over deep mid-wicket for another six. This hitting spree didn’t last for long as a cross-seam delivery from Georgia Elwiss saw Priest’s woodwork undone. Natalie Sciver then joined Johnson at the crease with the Rockets score reading 39 for one by the end of the power play.

Johnson was next to depart as she was struck on the back pad when she attempted a reverse sweep and was give out LBW by umpire Rob Bailey, and the review didn't save the batter. Rockets were in trouble when four balls later Katherine Brunt was sent back to the dugout by Gordon. The trouble further mounted when a sensational direct hit from deep mid-wicket by Katie Mack removed Sciver for 17 and Rockets were reeling at 64 for four from 52 balls.

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Abigail Freeborn and Australian recruit Heather Graham steadied the ship for Rockets with a blistering partnership of fifty runs off just 36 balls. Freeborn tried to swing a full delivery but missed it completely and was bowled by Gordon. One ball later, Graham was caught straight at mid-off by Wong as she tried to accelerate the scoring rate. Sarah Bryce remained not out at the end with Rockets finishing with a below-par 127 for sevene at the end of their innings.

In reply, Phoenix started well as Shafali Verma hit two back-to-back boundaries off Kathryn Bryce but couldn’t repeat the feat against Brunt. The England pacer got the wicket of Verma yet again, this time with Graham taking a catch at deep mid-wicket. Evelyn Jones then found a partner in captain Amy Jones as they navigated through power play without losing any further wickets although they could score only 29 runs.

Once the power play was done, Georgia Davis sent Evelyn back with a plumb LBW. Just as the visitors crossed the fifty-run mark, Johnson came back to remove Amy with a slower delivery outside off and two balls later Mack was deceived by a similar delivery as she chipped it to back to a diving Johnson. Phoenix were reduced to 58 for five when Sarah Glenn sent Gwenan Davies back for a duck.

From that precarious position, Burns helped Phoenix with her 38 off 26 balls which included six fours. She was supported by Emily Arlott as they shared a valuable partnership of 48 runs. Johnson did remove her fellow country player but by then Phoenix only needed seven runs off 12 balls and Arlott then sealed the deal by hitting two back-back-back fours off Johnson to keep Phoenix’s hope alive in The Hundred.

Brief Score: Trent Rockets 125/7 in 100 balls (Abigail Freeborn 30, Heather Graham 26; Kirstie Gordon 3/26) lost to Birmingham Phoenix 129/7 in 94 balls (Erin Burns 38, Emily Arlott 22; Sammy-Jo Johnson 3/22) by three wickets. POTM: Erin Burns