In the second game of The Hundred, Birmingham Phoenix lock horns with the London Spirit at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
The Phoenix side have a rather good balance of experience and youth with current England wicketkeeper Amy Jones leading the side.
Speaking of youth, they have the firepower of the Indian sensation, Shafali Verma, at the top. Along with that, the Birmingham Phoenix also have quite a few game changers within their squad.
In that regard, let’s take a look at how they shape up in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Birmingham Phoenix Squad
Amy Jones (c & wk), Shafali Verma, Erin Burns, Katie Mack, Ria Fackrell, Marie Kelly, Evelyn Jones, Emily Arlott, Kirstie Gordon, Phoebe Franklin, Abtaha Maqsood, Thea Brookes, Gwen Davies, Isabelle Wong, Georgia Elwiss
With Shafali Verma at the top, Phoenix is guaranteed a fiery start. Meanwhile, skipper Amy Jones, too, has been in rich form lately against the recently-concluded series against India, and she will also play a vital role in the fortunes of the side.
Birmingham Phoenix also has the services of Evelyn Jones, who has been brilliant for the Central Sparks in the domestic competition.
Phoenix also boasts some good fast bowlers within their setup. Someone like Georgia Elwiss’ experience is bound to come in handy as the competition wears on.
The likes of Emily Arlott and Issy Wong, who will draw confidence from their stellar performances in the Charlotte Edwards Trophy, will have key roles to play as well.
And experienced Aussie all-rounder Erin Burns is only further strengthening the already potent Birmingham Phoenix outfit.
The bowling department looks weaker when compared to the other teams in the competition. Barring Georgia Elwiss, there aren’t enough bowlers who have experience at the top level.
Ellyse Perry opting out of the tournament comes as a huge blow to Phoenix as they miss out on an experienced all-rounder. Perry, however, has a replacement in Katie Mack, but the fact that she hasn’t featured at the highest level yet does not augur well for the team.
A lot will rest on Evelyn Jones with the bat since being over-dependent on someone like Shafali Verma, who is still quite young, can backfire.
The inexperience within the team also brings about equal amounts of opportunities for the likes of Emily Arlott and Isabelle Wong. Coming off decent performances off-late, both Arlott and Wong wanted to put their hands up and make them count.
The same would go for someone like Evelyn Jones, who has scored heavily in domestic competitions, and a good outing in the Hundred will see her earn a possible national call-up.
The left-arm spinner, Kirstie Gordon, who was left out of the England national side in 2019, would also be keen to have a decent tournament.
The inexperience within the Birmingham Phoenix side can be a double-edged sword as it might come back to haunt them in crucial junctures of the game.
The fact that the side lacks a rather solid middle-order batter only puts extra pressure on those batting at the top. If the likes of Verma and Jones fail, Phoenix has not too few options for someone steadying the ship in the middle.
Birmingham Phoenix Predicted XI
Birmingham Phoenix: Shafali Verma, Evelyn Jones, Gwen Davies, Amy Jones (c & wk), Thea Brookes, Erin Burns, Phoebe Franklin, Emily Arlott, Georgia Elwiss, Issy Wong, Kirstie Gordon.