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Birmingham Phoenix 161 for 5 (Perry 58, Devine 48) beat Welsh Fire 142 for 5 (Beaumont 39, Elwiss 2-29) by 19 runs
Birmingham Phoenix notched the second-highest total of the women's Hundred as they beat Welsh Fire by 19 runs at a blisteringly hot Sophia Gardens.
After a slowish start, in which they were scoring at a run a ball in the first 20 and lost the wickets of Eve and Amy Jones, Phoenix picked up the pace to take 22 runs off the next set of five balls from Annabel Sutherland.
Welsh Fire skipper Tammy Beaumont led the charge with a 47-run opening partnership with Hayley Matthews. Matthews hammered 20 off 15 balls, while Beaumont notched 39 off 34 before she was stumped by Amy Jones off opposing skipper Devine.
Despite going down by 19 runs, Fire went on to bag their highest score in the competition with 142 for 5.
Having reached the eliminator last season, Phoenix recruited well in the off-season and made a good fist of being put in by Fire. Aussie import Perry enjoyed a brilliant debut in the tournament and her excellent innings of 58 off 31 balls included 10 fours to earn her the Hero of the Match award.
Having seen two wickets fall very cheaply at the top of the innings, Perry dug in with Devine to put on 46 for the third wicket. Between them they turned that conservative start into an innings with real momentum, Devine hitting seven fours and two sixes in her 48.
Those two maximum strikes came off Matthews, as 18 runs came in her first set of five. That took Phoenix to 60 off 30, and although Devine departed soon after to Katie George's first ball, Perry and Molineux provided a final flourish that took them to their best-ever total - five runs short of the 166 notched by Northern Superchargers against Fire last summer.
Lauren Filer, whose 20 balls cost just 20 runs, was the pick of the Fire bowlers, with Claire Nicholas taking 2 for 26.
The chase from Fire was energetic and innovative, with a ramp shot from Beaumont for six being the highlight. The skipper steered her team to 32 runs in the powerplay and looked set with Matthews until the latter was caught off the second ball from Abtaha Maqsood. Rachael Hynes hit some nice shot in her quickfire 14 and Sutherland notched 34 before she departed.
There was a spirited 20 in 12 balls from Fran Wilson before she was run out and, in the end, Fire fell well short.