|Birmingham Phoenix 147-4 (100 balls) Jones 64 (47), Burns 28* (22); Levick 2-23|
|Northern Superchargers 133-6 (100 balls) Winfield-Hill 64 (38); Wong 2-24|
|Phoenix win by 14 runs|
Eve Jones’ sensational individual performance helped Birmingham Phoenix all-but secure a place in the women’s Hundred eliminator with a 14-run win over Northern Superchargers.
In a pressurised final group match in which the winner progressed and the loser was knocked out, Jones stroked a brilliant 64 from 47 balls to take her side to 147-4.
Then, with Superchargers well-placed at 97-1 and seemingly on course for the knockout stages, Jones produced a spectacular, match-winning diving catch to dismiss Superchargers skipper Lauren Winfield-Hill for 64.
After plucking the ball inches above the turf in the deep, the 29-year-old was mobbed by her team-mates on the Headingley outfield.
Phoenix squeezed the game from there, slowing the Superchargers’ scoring until they eventually finished on 133-6.
The Phoenix leap from sixth to third in the table and will meet the Oval Invincibles in Friday’s eliminator unless London Spirit beat Welsh Fire by a huge margin on Wednesday.
Jones the hero for Phoenix
Eve Jones… Wow!
Her innings, which included three powerful sixes, was good. But her catch was arguably even better and more important.
Winfield-Hill looked like she could win the game on her own and had been dropped twice just moments before.
Jones made no such mistake, swooping in off the boundary, tumbling down to her right and clinging on to the ball. Some of her team-mates looked on in disbelief.
“I thought ‘what a shot’ and looked over and Jonesy was underneath it,” Phoenix skipper Amy Jones said afterwards.
In truth this was a headline performance for one of the players of the tournament – her knock taking her to third in the run-scorers’ charts with 233.
Jones was one of the players given a professional contract last year when the number of full-time women’s players in the UK was increased to 41 and has not looked back.
An England call-up must surely be around the corner.
Phoenix rise from the Ashes
There’s nothing in a name, right? This win caps a remarkable rise for the Phoenix who were on the brink of elimination 10 days ago.
They lost four of their first five games and were stuck at the bottom of the table but have won three games in a row since, with initially slim hopes of qualification turning into scenes of celebration at a disappointed Headingley.
“From where we have been, we were very much [thinking] anything is a bonus,” said bowler Issy Wong.
“For us to have got there, the fight we have shown the last two weeks, we are going into it [the eliminator] on a high. Hopefully we have a bit of momentum with us now.”
The Superchargers’ tournament was the reverse. They were unbeaten in their first four games, raising hope of a run to the final, but it ended with four defeats.
There could be more success for the Phoenix later with their men, already guaranteed an eliminator place, playing the Superchargers from 18:30 BST, knowing a win will see them go straight into Saturday’s final as group winners.