Report: Southern Brave v Birmingham Phoenix Men
Rehan Ahmed celebrated his England T20 call-up with a spellbinding three for 22 as the Southern Brave cruised to a four-wicket victory over the Birmingham Phoenix.
Teenage leg-spinner Ahmed, who is the youngest male cricketer to play all three formats for England, bamboozled the Phoenix through the middle sets, while the lightening quick Tymal Mills starred at the death with three for 20 to restrict the visitors to an under-par 119 for eight.
George Garton top scored with 28 as Southern Brave got ahead of the rate early and reached their target with six balls to spare.
Ashes hero Moeen Ali elected to bat first and Will Smeed started fast, striking three boundaries off Garton and Craig Overton’s opening end. England star Ben Duckett soon joined the fun striking boundaries with a cut, flick and a ramp.
Smeed crashed two glorious drives through the off side for four, and had a life when he was put down by Tim David in the deep, but his luck ran out when he was beaten by the extra pace of Mills and top edged a pull to Leus du Plooy to leave the Phoenix 40 for one after the powerplay.
Brave captain James Vince turned to spin and was vindicated as Ahmed trapped Jamie Smith lbw before bowling Duckett around his legs with a disguised googly.
Off-spinner Colin Ackermann picked up the prize scalp of Ali with a jaffa as both spinners dominated, bowling back-to-back 10-ball sets.
Ahmed picked up his third wicket after Dan Mousley overbalanced to a leg-side delivery and was smartly stumped by Devon Conway.
Livingstone was dropped in the deep and threatened to make the Brave pay when he dispatched Ahmed and Mills for sixes, however he edged behind off Mills.
In the final end Benny Howell fell to a Jordan slower ball and Chris Woakes holed out to long-off as Mills picked up his third wicket and the Phoenix could only muster 119for eight.
Finn Allen set about making light work of the target, striking Woakes over extra-cover, before launching fellow New Zealander Adam Milne for a six over long-on, and hitting Woakes for consecutive boundaries over his head.
Allen fell soon after when he could only glove an attempted ramp off Kane Richardson to Smith.
Vince worked a Richardson in-swinger behind square for four off his first delivery, before assertively pulling Woakes to the boundary. However, the Brave’s captain was bowled after advancing down the pitch to an Ali delivery that spun between bat and pad.
Devon Conway was run out after a mix up, however a quickfire partnership of 44 between Garton and Du Plooy put the Brave firmly in control.
Garton fell after looping a catch to point, David holed out to cow corner and Du Plooy was trapped lbw as the Brave stumbled over the line for a vital victory.
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