Will Smeed becomes the first batter to hit the barrel in Hundred as Birmingham defeats champions Southern Brave

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Will Smeed reached the first century in The Hundred as Birmingham Phoenix beat reigning champions Southern Brave at Edgbaston by 53 runs.

At NHS Heroes Night in Birmingham, a crowd of 14,000 invited workers and support staff as a thank you for their brilliant work was royally entertained when Smeed fired an unbeaten 101 from 50 balls to lift his side to 176 for four.

The Brave responded with a paltry 123 as Henry Brookes enjoyed a dream debut on the floor he always called home.

He made five for 25 and two excellent catches as Phoenix picked up their first win of the season and handed James Vince’s side their first loss in nine games.

After Phoenix was fielded they relied heavily on Smeed after Chris Benjamin was promoted to the Open and Moeen Ali each raced to 17 but then died.

Benjamin sent a skier away from Marcus Stoinis before Ali, after lifting George Garton deep into the crowd in the center of the goal, smashed James Fuller’s first ball to his stumps.

Smeed galloped to half a century with 25 balls and reached with six over-long offs by Jake Lintott in a standing of 80 in 44 balls with Liam Livingstone.

Livingstone never really got going, scoring just two of his first seven balls and 21 of 20 before putting Lintott in extra cover.

In the final 10 balls, the big question was could Smeed complete his barrel? Of the last three he needed five and a four and a two took him to the magic mark of 49 balls.

Phoenix set out to defend their total with an increasingly jaded close-range attack after Adam Milne joined Matt Fisher, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone on the absentee list.

But Kane Richardson soon stepped up, bowling Vince with his first delivery after the brave captain batted Ali in the first set for 16 in three balls.

Richardson conceded just one of his first five balls and Phoenix struck again when Stoinis was brilliantly caught by Brookes on a short fine leg from Tom Helm.

Brookes followed up sensationally, striking with his second, 10th, 13th, 15th and 17th balls.

Quinton de Kock sent back a return catch, Tim David raised for a deep square leg, Alex Davies was bowled by an attempted scoop for 33, and Fuller and Garton were pinned lbw.

Brookes wasn’t quite done yet. At 108 for seven, Brave’s only glimmer of hope came from some pyrotechnics from the hard-hitting Ross Whiteley, but when he shot Benny Howell in the long leg, Brookes made no mistake and Richardson then cleaned up the rear.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/birmingham-phoenix-quinton-de-kock-moeen-ali-marcus-stoinis-b2142668.html Will Smeed becomes the first batter to hit the barrel in Hundred as Birmingham defeats champions Southern Brave

Fry Electronics Team

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