Charlie Peters is an ECB Rising Reporter
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Birmingham Phoenix 117 for 2 (Jones 44*, Perry 39*) beat Trent Rockets 116 for 9 (Villani 33, Sciver 31, Arlott 3-19) by eight wickets
Birmingham Phoenix cruised to an eight-wicket victory over Trent Rockets at Edgbaston after an astonishing collapse from the visitors saw them slip from 70 for 1 to a sub-par total of 116 for 9.
Rockets never really looked as if they had an answer for the Phoenix's all-round bowling brilliance, with all bar three batters failing to post double-digit scores.
Rockets initially struggled to find any form of momentum in their innings. Molineux's first set of 10 deliveries cost her just six runs inside the powerplay, and included the wicket of Bryony Smith for 1, leaving the visitors teetering at 1 for 1.
Sciver, making her first Hundred appearance of 2022, and Elyse Villani were then able to build a solid foundation, taking the Rockets up to 70 for 1 thanks to their half-century partnership. It was a partnership of stability rather than intent, however, and when Villani holed out to Perry at long on off the bowling of Elwiss, it signalled the start of a miserable collapse for the away side.
Sciver departed not long after for an uncharacteristically quiet run-a-ball 31, before overseas star Mignon du Preez hooked an Issy Wong short ball straight into the hands of Gwen Davies for just 2. Only Kathryn Bryce, Rockets' No. 10, could register double digits as the visitors crumbled to an under par 116 for 9.
Phoenix didn't exactly get off to a flyer in reply, but then they had no need to with such a low total to chase. Sophie Devine holed out attempting to line up Sciver and departed for 16, while Eve Jones went for 11 not long after, but from then on it was plain sailing. No real risks were required, and Perry and Amy Jones were able to manipulate the field and pick up singles for much of the middle of the innings.
Amy Jones in particular looked in fine touch, as she racked up her 44 off 32 deliveries. A succession of glorious shots off England's Sarah Glenn flew off the bat and over the boundary rope for four to bring her side within touching distance of victory. The second, a reverse-paddle past point, stood out as a moment of brilliance in a largely jeopardy-free chase, as she and Perry accelerated at the death to see them over the line with nine balls to spare.
Not even last week's hat-trick hero Alana King could provide enough magic stardust to successfully defend the total the Rockets had posted earlier. Glenn and Katherine Brunt, too, were unable to find that all important breakthrough, and both finished wicketless as the Phoenix simply proved too much to handle.