Report: Birmingham Phoenix Men v Trent Rockets
Birmingham Phoenix ended Trent Rockets’ 100 per cent record in the Hundred with a crunching six-wicket victory at Edgbaston.
In a result that blows the Hundred table wide open, the Phoenix recorded their second win of the competition while applying a brake to the Rockets’ charge.
The Rockets totalled 144 for six thanks to Dawid Malan’s 51 (41 balls) against an attack superbly led by Adam Milne who took two for 13 in 20 balls.
The Phoenix then charged to 145 for four with 26 balls to spare. Their chase was explosively launched by debutant Will Smeed (36, 13 balls) and Finn Allen (43, 24) who shared 58 in fours and sixes to set up the victory charge.
Put in, the Rockets lost D’Arcy Short for a duck but the rest of the top four contributed. Alex Hales charged to 38 (22 balls) before falling to a smart catch by Sneed at extra cover off Moeen Ali.
Samit Patel hit 31 (19 balls) out of a partnership of 47 with Malan before also being caught by the speedy Sneed, off Benny Howell.
Malan reached his fifty with six over cow-corner off Tom Helm but added only one more before perishing in pursuit of a scampered single when he was beaten by Ali’s direct hit.
The Phoenix attack, superbly led by Milne, reeled in the scoring-rate during the last quarter, though Matt Carter and Tom Moores both cleared the ropes off Pat Brown in the last over to give the Rockets some late ignition.
There was plenty of early ignition about the Phoenix reply as Smeed went straight to top gear. The Somerset opener climbed into Timm van der Gugten for 20 in four balls and had 60 on the board in 22 balls before Rashid Khan came on and immediately imposed his class. The spinner removed Smeed, caught at deep mid-wicket and conceded just a single in his first five.
It was only a momentary success for the Rockets as Allen and Ali biffed 44 in 28 balls. Ali (26, 17 balls) struck Patel for successive sixes but then sought a third and found only Luke Wood at deep mid-wicket.
Allen was bowled through a quixotic reverse sweep at Khan, who also bowled Miles Hammond, but Livingstone (23, 12 balls) soon lifted a couple of big hits into the crowd to ensure there was no late rally from the Rockets.