Win no consolation for Spirit as Phoenix qualify to play Invincibles in the Eliminator

Kalyani Mangale
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Win no consolation for Spirit as Phoenix qualify to play Invincibles in the Eliminator

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The Hundred but lacked the fire power to knock off the target in 41 balls and it cost them a place in the eliminator round against Oval Invincibles. Spirit still managed to win the game as they beat Welsh Fire by seven wickets on Wednesday (August 18) at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Spirit made one change in the must-win clash with Grace Scrivens replacing Naomi Dattani in the playing XI. Fire also made one change Natasha Wraith coming in as wicket-keeper for Sarah Taylor. Spirit captain Heather Knight won the toss and decided to bowl first, based on the fact that chasing would give them the best chance of going ahead of Phoenix in the Net Run Rate.

Bryony Smith started the power play for Fire by hitting boundaries against Charlotte Dean and Freya Davies but fell soon when she tried to hit over mid-on as Alice Monaghan took a simple catch. Australian recruit Georgia Redmayne then partnered with Hayley Matthews to take Fire through the power play without losing any wicket.

That joy lasted only for a few balls, as the Fire middle order went through yet another collapse when they lost four wickets in 13 balls. Deepti Sharma trapped Matthews LBW and in the very next ball Danielle Gibson removed captain Sophie Luff. Alice Macleod and Piepa Cleary cheaply went back to the pavilion as well. Half-way through the innings, the hosts were struggling at 51 for five with Redmayne and Georgia Hennessy at the crease.

Redmayne and Hennessy then batted together for 18 balls and added 21 runs to Fire the total and take the home team to 71. Once Redmayne was bowled trying to attempt a late cut off Knight, none of the Fire batters got going as they stuttered to 95 for nine by the end of the innings.

For Spirit, Sharma, Knight, Dean and Gibson chipped in with two wickets each.

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In reply, Spirit needed to score 96 runs in 41 balls if they were to qualify for the eliminator round. Visitors were in search of a firing opening partnership to take them over the line and decided to open with Tammy Beaumont and Chloe Tryon. That gamble didn’t work as Tryon was caught at the mid-wicket by a slow delivery off Matthews. Knight started well with couple of eye catching drives.

Cleary then rattled the woodwork of Beaumont to reduce Spirit to 23 for two. Dottin, at four, looked to attack from the start but she was castled by her fellow West Indian Matthews with a slow delivery for just 12. Gibson provided a glimmer of hope when shit hit three back-to-back boundaries off Hennessy but it was too little too late for Spirit to get over the line with in the stipulated 41 balls. They only managed to score 63 runs at that stage and had to bid goodbye to their chances to qualify for the knockout stages of the inaugural edition.

Knight and Gibson attacked the helpless Fire bowling unit to score 60 runs off just 32 balls to gain a consolation win for the Spirit. Both players scored 34 runs off 19 balls, which included seven fours each. Spirit chased down the target with 42 balls remaining and ended the tournament with a fourth spot in the points table. Fire finished at the bottom of the table with just four points from eight matches.

Brief Scores: Welsh Fire 95/9 in 100 balls (Georgia Redmayne 35, Bryony Smith 13; Danielle Gibson 2/10) lost to London Spirit 96/3 in 58 balls (Heather Knight 34*, Danielle Gibson 34*; Hayley Matthews 2/28) by seven wickets POTM: Danielle Gibson