Manchester Originals star Phoebe Graham says the team are eyeing a strong finish in The Hundred after securing derby bragging rights with a win over Northern Superchargers, a game in which two future England stars clashed…

Everyone wants two wins on a Hundred match day and nothing beats doing it on home turf, on derby day in front of a full house.

For the women’s team, we knew going into the final two games our hopes for finals weekend were over, but it was so important for us to play our best cricket and give everything on our home ground. As a team, we’re undefeated at Emirates Old Trafford and there’s something really special about being able to celebrate with families and friends at the end of the game together, as one club.

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Highlights from The Hundred match between Manchester Originals and Northern Superchargers

It’s been an interesting tournament where rain and poor form away from home has halted our chances. Our first two games were called off due to rain and starting a four-week tournament a week later than expected does encourage a slower start, it takes longer to find your on-field winning formula.

Wednesday 23rd August 2:30pm

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We’ve learned so much as a unit though and, after losing two games by narrow margins, it was so good to get over the line on Sunday against the Northern Superchargers.

Mahika Gaur, aka ‘magic Meeks’, set the tone with her first 10 balls, getting Marie Kelly out caught in the deep and bowling an absolute pearler to Phoebe Litchfield.

Litchfield has been in outrageous form throughout the tournament, she is the second-highest run-scorer, so her wicket early doors was key.

Meeks’ story to how she’s got to playing for Manchester Originals and Lancashire Thunder is fabulous. Spotted at 16 on our pre-season tour to Dubai, she relocated her studies to England to pursue her cricket opportunity with Thunder. This year she got an opportunity in the first team, taking three wickets on debut and has never looked back.

Bess Heath, Mahika Gaur, Tammy Beaumont

Image: Bess Heath, Mahika Gaur, Tammy Beaumont

At 17, 6 ft 2 and a left-armer with already so much control with the new ball, she’s got so much potential and a real opportunity in the women’s game to become one of the best. In The Hundred alone, her economy rate is the best for a pace bowler in the powerplay, she’s taken the wickets of Lauren Winfield-Hill, Litchfield and Jemimah Rodrigues, so there’s no surprise that she got the call-up to play for England later this summer. With her mentality to learn combined with the wonderful character she is, I think she’ll go a long way with the three lions on her shirt.

Speaking of players with a maiden England call-up, our substitute fielder Ami Campbell had a magic moment in the game, running out Bess Heath – who was also called up to the England squad for the first time with Meeks. It was a super bit of fielding, a direct hit, and it was a crucial moment as Bess is a destructive player and it meant she was gone for a duck.

Bess has so much natural talent and sporting ability and has done remarkably well over the past few years in domestic cricket in England and Australia for Northern Diamonds, the Superchargers and Melbourne Stars. As a wicketkeeper-batter, she oozes athleticism, she is powerful and she’s creating a name for herself with inventive play such as the switch-hit and reverse-scoop.

She is an exciting talent to watch grow, within this tournament alone she has been hitting at a mammoth strike-rate of 188! She is also one of the most genuine people in the game, with the hunger to grow and develop and, at 21, it’s scary to think of what her career will look like over the next few years.

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Chaos ensued in The Hundred match between the Originals and the Superchargers as an injured Sophie Ecclestone and her runner struggled with communication!

From England’s future stars to one of their very best right now, it was horrible to watch Sophie Ecclestone go down after bowling three balls in her set and leave the pitch. Ellie Threlkeld took the captaincy mid-game and I thought we showed great resilience and character as a team, remaining calm and containing the Superchargers to 108 runs.

The best thing about the chase was the partnership of Amanda-Jade Wellington and Kathryn Bryce, 65 off 51 balls. A simple game plan of rotating the strike and using the wind to their advantage got us to a winning situation where we required 13 off the last 10 balls to win.

Not many of the teams have crossed the line chasing due to the pressure and how impactful the death bowling has been in the women’s game. But Katie George came in at the end and smoked the ball to the offside for the winning runs.

It just showed how batting patiently, being clear with plans and playing to your strengths can see you chase down tricky targets in pressure situations.

The win has brought a lot of confidence to the camp. We’re really looking forward to a big final match on Wednesday against the Southern Brave, hoping to again showcase our skills and talents on home turf.

It will be a tough match against the two-time runners-up of the competition, who are currently firing on all cylinders, but we’re excited to finish off the tournament with a men’s and women’s win.

We will bring the energy and hope we can inspire the people of Manchester!

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