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 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 from 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 off 13 balls) and Finn Allen (43 off 23), who shared 58 in boundaries 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 in 22 balls before falling to a smart catch by Smeed at extra cover off Moeen Ali.
Samit Patel hit 31 from 19 balls and put on 47 with Malan before also being caught by the speedy Smeed 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 Moeen’s direct hit from wide mid-off.
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 late on to give the Rockets some much-needed momentum.
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 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 Moeen biffed 44 in 28 balls. Moeen (26 off 17) struck Patel for successive sixes but then sought a third and found only Luke Wood at deep midwicket.
Allen was bowled attempting to reverse-sweep Khan, who also bowled Miles Hammond to finish with three for 26, but Liam Livingstone (23 off 12) lifted a couple of big hits into the crowd to ensure there was no late rally from the Rockets.
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