Moeen Ali top-scored for the Phoenix in their run-chase.

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali of Birmingham Phoenix. (Photo by Christopher Lee – ECB/ECB via Getty Images)

The Birmingham Spirit Men’s team started the Hundred on a grand note, beating the London Spirit by three wickets on July 23. At the Edgbaston in Birmingham, Moeen Ali’s men chased down 145 with three balls left and registered their maiden win of the tournament. Spirit’s Zak Crawley ended on the losing side but got the Player of the Match award after scoring 64 runs off 40 balls.

Crawley steps up

After being put in to bat first, the Spirit got off to a poor start as Josh Inglis and Dan Lawrence got out cheaply. Eoin Morgan, their skipper, perished as well after scoring 13 at a run-a-ball. Joe Denly injected some impetus as he notched 25 runs off 14 balls with the help of one four and two sixes.

Ravi Bopara huffed and puffed to 17 before Adam Milne nipped him out. At the other end, Crawley held the innings together. He played until the very last spell of five balls and smashed six fours and three sixes, taking Spirit to 144. Milne, Tom Helm and Benny Howell picked up two wickets each.

Benjamin plays a blinder

The Phoenix didn’t make a great start either after the openers- Finn Allen and Miles Hammond- perished cheaply. Liam Livingstone hit a four and a six to score 19 after which Blake Cullen dismissed him. Moeen Ali brought all his experience to the fore as he scored 40 off 30 with three fours and a six.

When he got out, the Phoenix needed 47 runs off 29 balls. Chris Benjamin showed nerves of steel as he notched an unbeaten 15-ball 24 to see his team over the line. Howell carted two sixes on his way to a nine-ball 17. For the Spirit, Mohammad Amir and Cullen churned out a couple of wickets each.

I wanted to take the team over the line: Chris Benjamin

Following the Spirit’s defeat, Crawley, the winner of the POTM award, was delighted with the atmosphere at the venue. Benjamin, who delivered the killer blows in the end, talked about his approach while leading his side to a triumph.

“It was nice to score runs. I am pleased with how I played. It wasn’t easy to start and we didn’t get as many as we should’ve in the back-end. It was lovely playing in front of the crowd. All our bowlers bowled really well but their batters applied themselves well. I try and enjoy every game,” Crawley said after the game.

“I wanted to take the team over the line. Very excited when I got the call-up last week, it was incredible to get an opportunity and then to get a chance and take the team over the line was incredible. I just wanted to play myself in and then take on the bowler. ‘Keep dreaming, keep working hard’, is my message to the youngsters,” Benjamin said.

Here’s how the netizens reacted to Birmingham Spirit’s win:


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