Imran Tahir picked up a five-wicket haul to crush the Fire.

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Birmingham Phoenix have gone from strength to strength after their jittery start in the Hundred where they lost two out of their first three games. On Monday, the Moeen Ali-led team thrashed the Welsh Fire by 93 runs and moved atop the points table with a net run rate of 0.920.

Smeed and Moeen take charge

After Finn Allen got out to Matt Milnes for two, the Phoenix didn’t look back. Will Smeed and Moeen’s 92-run stand for the second wicket off 44 balls out their team in command. Moeen notched 59 off 28 with three fours and five sixes before James Neesham accounted for his wicket.

However, Smeed carried on until the very end. He stayed not out on a 38-ball 65 with four fours and as many sixes. He got the apt support from Liam Livingstone, who scored a 19-ball 31. On the back of Smeed, Moeen and Livingstone’s knock, the Phoenix racked up 184 in their 20 overs.

Tahir runs through Fire   

The run-chase turned out to be a forgettable one for the Fire. After Tom Banton’s dismissal, Ian Cockbain and Ben Duckett’s 35-run stand for the second wicket ignited hopes of Fire’s comeback. Even as Cockbain scored 32 runs off 25 balls, the Fire’s skipper scored a 10-ball 16.

After they got out, only Graeme White got into double digits. For the Phoenix, Imran Tahir was outstanding as he picked up five wickets for 25 runs. Barring fast bowler Tom Helm, every other Phoenix bowler impressed. In the end, the Fire were shot out for 91 in a mere 74 balls.

Smeed is getting better and better: Moeen Ali

After the game, Duckett, the Fire’s captain, said that the Phoenix batted with all their might. He is also hopeful of his team qualifying for the playoffs. Moeen, on the other hand, praised Tahir and Smeed for their performances.

“Their batting was brutal. We kept losing wickets throughout, and we keep losing wickets in the powerplay, so we can’t really do much but stay positive. I haven’t won a game as captain, but I have tried to keep a smile on my face while doing it and the best we can hope for is to win the next two games even though we can’t qualify,” Duckett said.

“Nobody caught him, Tahir, and he was outstanding today in particular. It’s the way we are scoring runs, Smeed is getting better and better and this is great for English cricket. He didn’t get a lot of strike first. It was a good toss to lose, there was some rain, and there was grip for the spinners. We wanted to win in ways other than chasing, so it was great to set a target,” Moeen said.

Here’s how the netizens reacted to Birmingham Phoenix’s win


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