Moeen Ali eclipsed the efforts of Colin Ingram to secure an exciting conclusion to the encounter at Edgbaston, with Birmingham Phoenix winning by six wickets. Chasing 173 on a pitch that has been well used would have been difficult for most teams, but Birmingham Phoenix set about it with some relish. A big-hitting top order would make any target chase-downable.
A combination of Will Smeed and Ali, in front of a partisan crowd, allowed the Phoenix to win in relative comfort. The pair added 54 runs from 30 balls for the third wicket.
Ali was fortunate to be dropped twice, the first time on just three. Reece Topley had all the time in the world to pouch the catch in front of the Hollies, but somehow dropped it. After that, Ali didn’t hold back, hitting four monster sixes in an innings of 49 from just 26 balls.
Smeed wasn’t far behind, and earlier in the innings, along with Finn Allen, the opening partnership got Phoenix off to the perfect start. Allen’s cameo of 23 came from just nine balls before he trod on his stumps, going deep in his crease from a Sunil Narine delivery.
Smeed would get revenge by smashing Narine for consecutive sixes. The young opener took a liking to the West Indian, and it made for an intriguing battle.
Smeed won’t have been a name on the lips of many in the crowd before The Hundred began, but it is clear his stock is rising. Another name that this could apply to is Chris Benjamin, who wasn’t in the Phoenix squad until the day before the fun began. His 37 not out from 16 balls was what brought his side home and, with it, a few more fans
With every boundary, the Edgbaston crowd got louder, and when Chris Benjamin hit the winning four for with six deliveries left, the crowd was ecstatic.
Oval Invincibles had gotten off to a decent start themselves earlier in the day; Jason Roy (38) and Will Jacks (12) didn’t hold back. However, the Invincibles total relied on the innings of Colin Ingram, who clubbed 81 not out from 43 balls. It helped launch them to 172 for 3.
Ingram may not be the biggest star in the Invincibles line-up, but he is an outstanding player in his own right, and he proved that by holding the innings together.
Sam Billings, the Invincibles captain, weighed in with valuable runs scoring 24 from 17 balls. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for his side, but it was an enjoyable game of cricket to witness.