Shafali Verma keeps Phoenix’s Hundred hopes alive with Fire win

Shafali Verma
Shafali Verma had scored 71 runs in her five previous innings in The Hundred
Women’s Hundred, Edgbaston
Welsh Fire 127-9 (100 balls): Smith 38 (36); Gordon 2-30
Birmingham Phoenix 131-0 (76 balls): Verma 76* (42), Jones 52* (35)
Phoenix won by 10 wickets
Scorecard; Table

India’s teenage superstar Shafali Verma crunched a rapid half-century in a spellbinding partnership of 131 with Eve Jones as Birmingham Phoenix kept their slim hopes alive with an empathic 10-wicket victory over Welsh Fire in the women’s Hundred.

Chasing 128 to win, Verma smashed a quite magnificent unbeaten 76 off 42 balls, after bringing her up her 50 off just 22 balls.

The 17-year-old hit nine fours and two sixes as she and Jones, who made 52 off 35 balls, combined magnificently to seal the first 10-wicket win of the Hundred with 24 balls to spare.

Earlier Welsh Fire collapsed from 75-1 to 127-9 – including losing their last six wickets for 23 runs in a 21-ball spell.

The win takes Birmingham Phoenix to four points, three behind Oval Invincibles who are currently occupying the third and final knockout place. Fire slip to seventh.

Verma lights up The Hundred

Verma grew up in Rohtak, a city in northern India, where young girls do not often pursue outdoor sports and had to impersonate her brother to play in an under-12 boys competition.

She made her international debut at just 15 – making her the youngest person to play for India.

She has dominated discussions and TV screens since her debut due to her ability to score faster than most, if not all, women.

This summer she started well, with an impressive Test debut against England that saw her score 159 runs in two innings, but The Hundred hasn’t quite gone her way, with a high score of 22 and an aggregate of just 71 from her five innings.

As usual she was strong through mid-wicket and square leg, but today was about more than that. She has had a difficult three weeks, but to see her giggling in the dugout during a short rain delay was pleasing.

She then took a back seat, even blocking deliveries – trust us, she doesn’t do that often! – to allow Jones to reach her half-century in a late-innings rampage.

It was quite the innings from Vema. It was quite the partnership with Jones.

More to follow.

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