Moeen Ali top-scored for the Phoenix in their run-chase.
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:
All about moeen Ali! What a guy!!! 😍
— Whitty (@Lee_whit95) July 24, 2021
Moeen Ali is a true role model for anyone out there. The most humble person you’ll see ❤️
— Inzamam khan (@InzamaamK) July 23, 2021
Perfect start for Moeen Ali’s side #Cricket #TheHundred
— Waqar Mahmoud (@MahmoudWaqar) July 23, 2021
Fantastic day at @Edgbaston watching the first double-header of #TheHundred. Well done #LondonSpirit for winning the women’s game, then bravo #BirminghamPhoenix for a brilliant win in the men’s game.
A fab family day out, all superbly organised. And a great 40 from Moeen Ali!
— Stephen Maddock (@stephenm68) July 23, 2021
Well done Moeen Ali and Birmingham pheonix for the win against Eoin Morgan’s London Spirit,Morgan without England team is shit as a captian and the batsman in him is gone long ago.Moeen’s perfect revenge on Morg for keeeping him out of white ball side recently #TheHundred #BPvLS
— Shoeb Zama (@shoebzama83) July 23, 2021
Congrats to @Birmingham_Army and Moeen Ali on a great win in @TheHundred.
— Rob Appleby (@ra55) July 23, 2021
Moeen Ali’s Birmingham beat Eoin Morgan’s London Spirit by 3 wickets.
Adam Milne 20 balls 10 dots 18 runs 2 wickets
Mohammad Amir 2/34 in 17 balls #TheHundred
— Abhijeet ♞ (@TheYorkerBall) July 23, 2021
Moeen Ali one of the last true mavericks
— ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) July 23, 2021
Side note… @liaml4893 has very quickly become my favourite player to watch in limited overs matches. Absolutely unreal! 🏏👏🏼
— Zoe Smith (@zoelouisesmithx) July 23, 2021
Liam livingstone has a hint of kp about his shots would be interesting seeing him play red ball cricket 👏🏾🏏 #hundred
— LORD Stroud of Appleby (@Tom21Stroud) July 23, 2021
If there’s one area of @liaml4893 game that could be improved I think it’d be hitting the ball further. Didn’t actually make it out of the stadium today. Poor
— Craig Aspey (@cr41g4) July 23, 2021