Birmingham Phoenix 113 for 9 (A Jones 31, Lamb 3-16) beat Manchester Originals 93 for 8 (Kaur 49*, Gordon 4-14) by 20 runs
Birmingham Phoenix claimed their first win of the tournament after prevailing over the Manchester Originals in a spin-dominated contest at Emirates Old Trafford. Phoenix only managed to score at slightly above a run a ball through their innings, but a total of 113 proved more than enough as the home side were throttled in the chase despite Harmanpreet Kaur's unbeaten 49 off 47.
At halfway, the Originals were happy with their work, with Emma Lamb and Sophie Ecclestone sharing five of the nine wickets to fall. Amy Jones top-scored for Phoenix with 31 from 17 but her dismissal by Ecclestone from the 68th ball left the visitors 79 for 7 and in danger of being bowled out inside their 100. It took a scrappy stand of 28 off 25 between Gwen Davies and Issy Wong to lift the innings into three figures.
But Phoenix defended the wide open spaces of Old Trafford tenaciously. Kirstie Gordon struck twice with her left-arm spin in the powerplay, on the way to 3 for 14 from 20, and the rest of the attack played their part in limiting the Originals to just four boundaries through the course of their innings. Kaur struck two of them but struggled to break free, seemingly affected by a back problem and unable to lift either her own tempo or her team from defeat.
Legspinner Abtaha Maqsood picked up the wickets of Mignon du Preez and Ellie Threlkeld for figures of 2 for 14 and although Kaur batted through to the end, the Originals lost for the second match running as well as becoming the first side in the competition not to reach 100 in a completed Hundred innings.
A spin of the coin
Both sides had an inkling about what to expect from this surface at Old Trafford, given it was the same 22 yards that had been used for the men's T20I last week - a game which saw 26 overs of spin sent down. Amy Jones won the toss and opted to take first use, going against the trend in the tournament so far, in which only twice from nine men's and women's fixtures had the captain chosen to bat. Kate Cross, recognising that chasing could be a struggle, said she would have done the same.
Following the strategy used by Lancashire in the men's Blast, the Originals packed their side with spin options and they were quickly to the fore. Alex Hartley opened the bowling, Ecclestone was straight into the attack from the other end and Lamb struck with her first ball coming on after the powerplay. Between them, they delivered 60 balls at a cost of 48 runs and collected five wickets. So far so good.
But even in a small chase, the sluggish nature of the pitch meant Phoenix were always tugging at the Originals' heels. Katie Gordon, the slow left-armer capped by Scotland and England, became the second bowler in the Hundred (after Lamb earlier in the day) to bowl ten consecutive deliveries spanning a change of ends. She removed Lamb lbw with her fourth ball and then had Lizelle Lee with her seventh, a full toss that was spooned to square leg. After 15 balls, Gordon had 2 for 5 and the Originals were already looking nervy.
Having lost their opening fixture at home to London Spirit, when they slipped to 37 for 3 from 36 balls, Phoenix kept the same XI but made several changes to the batting order. Erin Burns moved up from No. 6 to play as a pinch-hitting opener, with fellow Australian Katie Mack dropped down; Eve Jones, who top-scored with 47 while anchoring the innings at No. 3 against Spirit, was shuffled to No. 6; while Emily Arlott and Amy Jones both went up a place.
The result was an even worse start, worn track notwithstanding. Despite Burns fulfilling her brief during a frenetic innings of 17 off 16, India opener Shafali Verma failed to get going for the second match running, and with the glovework of Threlkeld accounting for Arlott and Mack, Phoenix were behind the eight ball again, this time 35 for 4 from 37.
Davies goes into reverse
The start of Phoenix's fightback came with the bat. Eve Jones could not get to grips with the surface and was bowled attempting to reverse-sweep Lamb, but Amy Jones finally got her side above a run a ball when helping to take Lauren Jackson's third set of five for 20 - including the only six of the day over deep backward square leg.
Jones' departure left Phoenix in a spot of bother with almost a third of the balls still to be bowled, but Davies provided the lower-order impetus during an innings in which she repeatedly jumped around and attempted a variety of reverse-sweeps, pulls and paddles. Her first ball was cut for four to deep point, and she swept Hartley in orthodox fashion for as well as reversing Kaur over point for boundaries. An injury sustained while taking a single during the 19th set left her needing a runner, and Mack was then caught short at the non-striker's off the 94th ball - but even as Davies hobbled off, she had given her team a fighting chance.