The Hundred: Matthew Wade top scores and impressive death bowling seals victory for Birmingham Phoenix

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The victory was the second for Birmingham Phoenix in the day, with the women’s team picking up a win earlier in the day

Birmingham Phoenix Mens snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a fine four run victory over Welsh Fire in Cardiff.

Matthew Wade top scored with 38 from 31 as the Phoenix set the Fire 131 runs to win.

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The win was sealed with some top bowling from Kane Richardson and Tom Helm at the death, giving the Phoenix their second win from three Hundred matches.

Phoenix batted first with Will Smeed and Chris Benjamin, but there would be no heroics from record making Hundred centurion Smeed this time as he sent a ball high into the late afternoon sky only to be caught by Dwaine Pretorious for 0.

Captain Moeen Ali came in at three and looked to settle nerves with the first four of the innings.

Benjamin’s timing was spot on as he hit a delicious drive for four, a rare run scoring ball on what was a slow start for the Phoenix.

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Ali hit a beautiful ramp shot off the bowling of Payne for four as the visitors settled into the match.

The Phoenix captain then departed thanks to the finest of edges down the leg side from the bowling of Scrimshaw.

He went for 10, leaving Phoenix 22-2 and Ali’s England team mate Liam Livingstone in next to bat.

Livingstone edged behind but luckily the ball ran away for four, he was up and running from his first ball.

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This was to be his only impact, however, as he was bowled attempting to ramp Scrimshaw. Phoenix 27-3 and in a spot of bother, it had to be said.

Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade was the next man to the crease for the Phoenix, who were in danger of falling apart in Cardiff.

There was very nearly a fourth wicket, but Preotrious was unlucky to drop a tough chance over the ropes for six.

The wait for that fourth wicket wouldn’t go on much longer. Benjamin dragged the ball into his own stumps and the Phoenix collapse continued.

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Miles Hammond joined Wade at the crease. 35-4 from 32 balls.

Wade found a welcome boundary but Josh Cobb was very close to making a superb catch - the Fire were very much controlling proceedings in Cardiff.

Miles Hammond rallied for the Phoenix in Cardiff (Photo: Getty)Miles Hammond rallied for the Phoenix in Cardiff (Photo: Getty)
Miles Hammond rallied for the Phoenix in Cardiff (Photo: Getty) | Getty Images

From half of their innings, the Phoenix had amassed just 50 runs and lost four wickets - a strong score of well over 100 looked a long way off at this point.

Adam Zampa came into the attack, and his economical bowling kept the Phoenix at bay.

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The pressure of the slow start was eased slightly when Wade scooped Scrimshaw away for a huge six towards the River End of the SWALEC.

With the 66th ball of the innings, Wade hit a huge six into the stands to bring some life into what was becoming a stagnant Phoenix innings.

On review, Hammond was trapped LBW as the Phoenix began to struggle once more, the score now 87-5.

Wade was dragging the Phoenix towards a respectable score and he carried this on with a six, before he holed out and was caught on the boundary for 38. Phoenix now 94-6 with 22 balls remaining.

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Tom Helm hit Zampa back towards the River End for six to take the Phoenix past the 100 mark with 15 balls remaining.

Pretorious very nearly caught Helm, but his superb effort couldn’t quite be held.

The seventh Phoenix wicket did fall soon after, Josh Cobb with an easy catch and Helm was sent back to the dressing room. 114-7 with seven balls left.

Phoenix finish on 130-7, the Fire needing 131 to win this one and pick up their first win of the season.

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Tom Banton opened up for Welsh Fire (Photo: Getty)Tom Banton opened up for Welsh Fire (Photo: Getty)
Tom Banton opened up for Welsh Fire (Photo: Getty) | Getty Images

Joe Clarke and Tom Banton opened the Welsh Fire innings, with Kane Richardson taking the new ball.

Clarke was caught superbly with the second ball of the innings as Phoenix looked to get straight into the Fire.

Sam Hain joined Banton at the crease with the hosts off to a similar slow start with the bat as the Phoenix.

A beautiful ramp shot from Hain went all the way for six to give the thousands in Cardiff something to cheer.

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Hain hit an effort through the hands of the fielder for four, before some good fielding from Ali saved a second consecutive boundary.

New bowler Henry Brookes was smacked away for four by Hain, the Fire number 3 batter looking in ominous form as he moved to 18 from 11 balls,

After being a spectator down the other end, Banton got himself in the game with a thumping effort back down the ground for four.

Hain then played onto his own stumps and his energetic knock came to an end on 23 runs. Ben Duckett was the new man in. 28-2 from 22 deliveries.

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Banton drilled a top effort back to the bowler for four before a flicked shot went behind him and all the way for 6.

The Fire reached 40-2 at the end of the 25 ball batting powerplay.

The Phoenix celebrate removing Joe Clarke (Photo: Getty)The Phoenix celebrate removing Joe Clarke (Photo: Getty)
The Phoenix celebrate removing Joe Clarke (Photo: Getty) | Getty Images

Duckett was bowled by Howell with the Fire at 53-3 and the match finely balanced. David Miller joined Howell at the crease.

At the halfway point, the Fire required 72 runs to win with plenty of wickets still to play with.

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Banton looked to take on spinner Imran Tahir, and he did just that. A lofty six back down the ground and into the stands moved Banton onto 39.

Richardson was brought back into the attack to break the Banton/ Miller partnership, and this is exactly what he did.

Banton was bowled with a superb length delivery for 41, captain Josh Cobb was next in for the Welsh Fire.

The Phoenix were building pressure and the relatively low target of 131 was being made hard work of by the hosts.

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David Miller, however, had other ideas and he sent Tahir into the stands with a huge six to move the Fire 38 runs away from victory with still 26 balls remaining.

Tom Helm of Birmingham Phoenix celebrates bowling Sam Hain (Photo: Getty)Tom Helm of Birmingham Phoenix celebrates bowling Sam Hain (Photo: Getty)
Tom Helm of Birmingham Phoenix celebrates bowling Sam Hain (Photo: Getty) | Getty Images

Miller went and did it again with the very next delivery. Same shot, same outcome - six runs for the Fire.

30 from 24 balls was starting to look straightforward for the Fire, especially with David Miller at the crease.

Cobb’s first boundary was a sweet strike that flew from his bat to the boundary, the hosts now required just 23 from 20 balls.

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The final 10 balls saw Kane Richardson bowl five superb deliveries and the Fire required 11 from the final five balls.

A huge wicket with the 95th ball of the innings saw Cobb hole out trying to go for a big six off Helm. The momentum was with the Phoenix and the home crowd could sense it.

Helm saw out his final five balls superbly as the Phoenix wrapped up an imressive victory, one which looked unlikely at the half way stage.

It’s now three wins from two for the Phoenix, who made sure it was a Birmingham double victory in Cardiff.

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