The Hundred: Beaumont's quest for excellence and Ismail's hat-trick

Shabnim Ismail defended eight runs in the last set and finished the game with the hat-trick with the wickets of Tess Flintoff, Erin Burns, and Issy Wong

Shivangi Sinha
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Tammy Beaumont

Shabnim Ismail (L) and Tammy Beaumont (R) © Getty Images

Tammy Beaumont and Shabnim Ismail led Welsh Fire to a sensational victory over Birmingham Phoenix in a thrilling encounter. The Fire skipper starred with the bat as she scored 59 off 40 deliveries - her highest score at The Hundred. But it was Ismail who walked away with the accolades as she finished the match with a hat-trick.

"That (match) was incredibly stressful (laughs) but really proud of the girls. I thought we were actually a little bit off with the ball upfront and losing Hayley Matthews to an injury was massive on a wicket that was turning," Beaumont told Sky Sports after the match.

The opener from Kent started with a roar as she hit two boundaries off Sophie Devine's bowling in the first set. She stepped out and converted the third ball of the innings to a low full toss and flicked it past mid-wicket to get going.

When Issy Wong came back to bowl the fourth set, Beaumont took charge again as she hit the fuller ball with ease and timed it well between Matthews and the non-striking stumps, and got her third boundary of the day.

With the Fire skipper stepping out often, Amy Jones came up to the stumps just before the last set of the power play, but Beaumont continued her aggressive style of play as she took out the pull shots and fetched ten runs off the last four balls in the power play.

Beaumont greeted Katie Levick with a straight six as she used her feet even with the keeper standing up to make use of the flight of the leg-spinner.

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When asked about the changes she made to her game recently, she said: "I never made any technical changes but they have kind of happened because of a mindset shift and I was trying to have a better strike rate and go after the ball more, because of that I have got into a stronger power position."

In the 11th set with Levick coming back into the attack, The Blaze opener manipulated the gaps with perfection and directed the ball towards the vacant short third region and reached 47 off just 31 deliveries. Soon, an outside edge flew off her bat to help Beaumont reach a well-stitched half-century.

It took an excellent effort from Erin Burns to dismiss Beaumont as the former took an amazing diving catch in the deep off Tess Flintoff.

Courtesy of Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley, Fire put up a challenging total of 137 on that wicket at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

But in the chase, Phoenix progressed without much trouble with a new opening partnership in Devine and Flintoff. They lost Devine on the 31st ball but a nicely-knitted partnership between wicket-keeper Jones and Flintoff made sure that they reached a point where they needed 15 off ten balls with nine wickets in hand.

A six-run penultimate set from Alex Griffiths gave Ismail eight runs to defend in the concluding set. And it started in the worst possible way as the Phoenix duo scored five runs off the first two balls. But the South African speedster kept her calm and splattered the stumps of Flintoff when the batter tried to play it on the leg side.

Now Phoenix needed 4 off 2 with the new batter Bruns at the crease.

Ismail had Burns hit one straight to short third as she missed the mark while going for a yorker. Final ball, Wong had to go for it and Ismail kept it straight and the ball smashed the stumps as the batter backed away to hit it through the off side.

Three wickets in three balls and Ismail ran off to celebrate with the team.

Ismail became  just the second bowler in The Hundred's history to bag a hat-trick to help Fire register a narrow win of three runs.

"When you have got the pace of Shabnim Ismail, I think you know she has been a real find for us, she got a three-fer against the Oval Invincibles and she just makes things happen and I am loving having her as a captain," said Beaumont as she heaped praises on the veteran pacer.

Beaumont also praised the 21-year-old Griffiths for her efforts in the second last set.

"I think for me, the big one was a set before where Alex Griffiths who has been an absolute find for us this year managed to keep it nine off the last five and gave Shabs (Shanim Ismail) as many as possible because you know she's got pace and it takes an edge and it's away for a four."