Phoenix hold their nerve to beat Spirit in a last ball thriller in the Hundred


An outstanding individual effort from Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade of 81 off just 42 balls including two sixes and 11 fours, was enough to beat London Spirit by one wicket in a last ball thriller, but his exploits wasn’t enough to send Birmingham Phoenix into the play-offs after their failure to chase down 140 inside 73 balls meant their net run rate wasn’t sufficient enough to take them through to Friday’s play off game at the Ageas Bowl.

Birmingham Phoenix won the toss and elected to bowl, knowing that only one team has won chasing at Lords in the competition.

Spirit lost their first wicket after 16 deliveries when Middlesex player Tom Helm produced a peach of a delivery to remove former team mate Adam Rossington(6) with the ball clattering into off stump.

On a slow wicket, boundaries were at a premium with just four reaching the fence after 40 deliveries were bowled.

England’s Zak Crawley(20) featured for Phoenix before the third and final test next week against South Africa, and survived a couple of chances including being bowled off a no ball from Sangha Tanveer, before his luck ran out when he was trapped leg before by Helm.

It was down to Ben McDermott(36) to open his shoulders by hitting Moeen Ali for six over long on before taking on Ali with one shot too many by slicing straight down extra covers throat.

Two balls later Eoin Morgan(8) nicked through to the keeper off Kane Richardson to leave Spirit on 74 for 4 off 72 balls.

Enter Ravi Bopara. The Sussex all-rounder hit Benny Howell for 16. His first ball he faced from Howell he went down on one knee with a maximum over the short leg-side boundary. Next ball was slog swept for another maximum before belting a delivery through midwicket.

Bopara along with Dan Lawrence(10) shared in a partnership of 50 off 24 balls before Helm bowled the Essex batter.

With the penultimate ball of Spirit’s hundred, Bopara’s magnificent effort was ended after he holed out in the deep for 45 coming off only 20 deliveries including five sixes, to give Helm his fourth scalp of the night, which should have been five when Brett D’Oliveira dropped a dolly at long off, with Spirit finishing on 139 for 6.

Birmingham Phoenix knew they had to reach their target within 73 balls or less to stand any hope of qualifying for the play-offs. The reply started off disastrously with Phoenix 2 for 2 after only four balls.

On debut Sol Budinger(1)- playing in place of the injured Liam Livingstone picked out Crawley at long-on off Liam Dawson. The Hampshire spinner then bowled Will Smeed(1) to leave Phoenix in big trouble.

Phoenix captain Moeen joined Matthew Wade in the middle with the pair intent on increasing the run rate. Ali made 11 before drilling Jordan Thompson to mid on and three balls later Chris Benjamin slog swept Dawson to deep backward square to leave Phoenix 34 for 4 after 26 deliveries.

With Phoenix having to take big risks to try and reach their target, Birmingham started to loose wickets at regular intervals with Mason Crane picking up two wickets in three deliveries to remove Dan Mousley(2) and Benny Howell(4).

Australian Wade made a valiant attempt to single handily get Phoenix close to their target, having been dropped earlier on 42 by Nathan Ellis. Just when Spirit thought that drop could well have cost them the game, Wade  top edged Crane to short fine leg straight into the hands of Bopara for 81 made off 42 balls.

Crane then removed Richardson(4) before Sangha slog swept the leggie into the stands, to leave Phoenix 11 to win in from ten balls.

Sangha picked up another boundary with the equation left with five to win off the final five deliveries with one wicket standing.

Brad Wheal was left with the final five deliveries to bowl. The first of which was a dot ball, a single came of the second and third ball with three off two. A further single was picked up with two needed off the final ball.

Wheal bowled a wide with the scores level and Sangha on strike, the Australian flicked the ball through square leg to bring up victory by one wicket.

Despite the win, Phoenix missed out on qualifying for the play-offs with Spirit also missing out on automatically going straight through to Sunday’s final. Spirit will now have to play in the eliminator, where they will face the winners of Oval Invincibles or Manchester Originals.

London Spirit     vs   Birmingham Phoenix

                            Men’s Hundred Tuesday 30th August 2022

                             London Spirit 139-6 (100)    Birmingham Phoenix  140-9 (100)

                                                Birmingham Phoenix won by one wicket

                                   Peter Moore at Lords

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt





About Author

Comments are closed.