“For a home debut, to be able to perform like that is a dream come true.”
Henry Brookes enjoyed a special night on Wednesday at the ground he has always called home.
The 22-year-old finished his Birmingham Phoenix debut with figures of five for 25, showcasing his fantastic talent in front of a partisan 14,000 crowd.
“If you’d told me how it it went at the start of the day, I’d have bitten your hand off,” Brookes said. “I was clear going into the game with my plans, specific plans to specific batters. It came off today, so I’m over the moon.”
After taking an excellent catch to his left to remove Marcus Stoinis, Brookes was tasked to help restrict a strong Southern Brave. He did that and more.
Quinton de Kock was the first to depart – a bouncer proving too quick for the word class opener – with Tim David, Warwickshire team mate Alex Davies, James Fuller and George Garton all following.
The Solihull-born pace bowler reduced last year’s champions to 97 for seven from 45 for two to put the game firmly in their grasp.
“I didn’t think I’d have as big a role to play as I did, but I’m grateful that Mo stuck with me, was confident in my game and I was able to repay the favour,” added Brookes.
That confidence in the youngster was to bear fruit at a pivotal point in the game.
At 93 for five, Brookes struck Fuller’s pad, but his loud appeal was turned down. Matthew Wade and Mooen weren’t overly interested – thinking it was going down – but they trusted the man in form.
“Mo didn’t think it was out,” he said smiling. “I think I was the only one on the pitch who thought it was hitting the wickets. I got my way in the end, they took it upstairs. It was a great night for me.”
All eyes now return to Edgbaston with Daniel Vettori’s side flying high and nicely poised in the top four.
Following Wednesday’s victory, Phoenix defended 130 for seven in a nail-biter against Welsh Fire in Cardiff.
Initially looking under par, Brookes and his team mates got to work, taking early wickets, before showing their death bowling quality.
“The lads were fantastic with the ball and in the field,” Brookes concluded. “It’s never easy defending a low total as you know you need early wickets, but we got those and kept on the pressure.
“Benny Howell and Kane Richardson were both excellent in their plans at the back end and it shows how hard it can be to get over the line in that situation.
“It wasn’t the perfect performance by any means, but a win is a win and we’re now on a roll. Hopefully, we can put in another strong performance at home and keep giving our fans something to cheer about.”
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