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Shafali Verma to miss Birmingham Phoenix's Hundred eliminator

India batter returns home to link up with the squad training for a tour of Australia in September

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
19-Aug-2021
Shafali Verma had a mixed bag in the Hundred  •  ECB/The Hundred

Shafali Verma had a mixed bag in the Hundred  •  ECB/The Hundred

Shafali Verma will miss Birmingham Phoenix's Hundred eliminator against Oval Invincibles on Friday after returning home ahead of India's tour to Australia.
India's players assembled in Bengaluru on Tuesday and are currently serving a quarantine period ahead of a pre-tour camp, which those involved in the Hundred will also join.
Verma arrived in the UK in early June, impressing during India's multi-format series against England and then playing for Phoenix since mid-July. Smriti Mandhana, the other Indian player whose team has qualified for the Hundred's knockout stages, had already left in order to spend time with her family ahead of September's tour.
Verma has had a mixed competition. She only passed 25 in one innings, but that knock of 76 not out off 42 balls led them to victory against Welsh Fire and started a winning run that saw them into the knockout stages.
"I really enjoyed playing with this great group of people in the Hundred," she posted on Instagram. "Friendships and memories that will last forever. Best of luck for the remainder of the tournament."
Amy Jones, Phoenix's captain, admitted that Verma was a big loss but said that they had enough squad depth to cover for her absence.
"Obviously Shafali was hitting her straps and we saw how dangerous she is against Welsh Fire so she is a big loss for us," Jones said. "But we're very lucky in that the girls who have been running the drinks in Marie Kelly, Thea [Brookes] and Ria [Fackrell] are all very powerful hitters and are quality cricketers.
"They've been very unlucky not to get a game, to be honest. They're definitely good enough to be playing in the tournament. It opens up a big opportunity for one of them to slot in. I'm sure there will be a bit of nerves around coming straight into a big game but I know all three of them would be more than ready to slot into the team."
Phoenix reached the eliminator thanks to three consecutive wins, having looked dead and buried earlier in the group stage, and Jones said that she hoped her side could extend that run into the knockouts.
"To win three in a row is brilliant and we can feel that momentum," she said. "Going into this game tomorrow I think we all need to remember that we've basically played in three knockout, must-win games, and take confidence from that.
"If I was playing for a different team, I wouldn't want to play us at the moment. We have to remember that and take a lot of confidence from that going into it.
"I think we've seen throughout the tournament lots of close games. The outcomes have been unpredictable and that has kept everyone engaged. No-one really walked it - the Brave have obviously had a really good tournament but they have been challenged."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98