Phoenix is defeated, and the Rockets continue their title defense

Trent Rockets defeated Phoenix by 46 runs

By crushing Birmingham Phoenix by 46 runs in the season’s last Hundred Men’s game at Trent Bridge in front of a record-breaking 15,551 spectators, Trent Rockets strengthened their own title defense and eliminated Birmingham Phoenix.

In contrast to the Rockets’ 162 for 6, which was largely fueled by Colin Munro (34 off 17), Sam Hain (30 off 21), and Alex Hales (27 off 14), offspinner Matt Carter (2 for 15) and Australia all-rounder Daniel Sams (3 for 17) stood out with the ball. Phoenix could only muster 116 for 9 despite 38 off 22 balls from Jamie Smith.

As a result, Rockets now have seven points, tied with Southern Brave and Manchester Originals for second place behind leaders Oval Invincibles, who have nine points despite having played one more game. 

After Rockets finish their away game against Invincibles on Monday, Brave play Invincibles later on Saturday. Then, on Wednesday of the following week, they play Originals in Manchester.

Given the opportunity to bat first, Rockets would have been thrilled to score 36 runs off of the first 25 balls, even with the loss of two significant batting forces in Alex Hales and Joe Root. Dawid Malan was once again placed at the back of the order.

After an unimpressive tournament by his own standards, Hales at least got off to a good start. However, after scoring a solid if streaky 27 off 14 balls, he dragged a slower ball from Kane Richardson onto his stumps, and Root was killed by a steepling top-edge taken by the bowler as he attempted to send Adam Milne (2 for 24 from 20) over midwicket.

As the Rockets approached the midway point at 72 for 3, Tom Kohler-Cadmore holed out to long-on. Tanveer Sangha, Moeen Ali, and Benny Howell were freed from the ropes by Munro, who was attempting to reach his second half-century of the match. 

However, the Rockets suffered a double defeat when Hain and Munro both died in the span of nine balls. Hain was caught trying to uppercut Milne on the deep point boundary, and Munro flubbed Howell to wide cover.

However, Sams, Lewis Gregory, and Luke Wood kept the Rockets going as the final 30 balls added 53. Sams then picked out Will Smeed at deep midwicket after scoring a crucial 20 from 12 balls to round off their home series with the second-highest total at Trent Bridge this year.

Phoenix had relied on Smeed to lead with the bat throughout the competition, but they were once again let down when Luke Wood and opening partner Ben Duckett were forced to leave after the second set of their match. 

Before Duckett attempted to ramp, his former Nottinghamshire teammate and discovered a current one hiding at short fine leg in Carter, Smeed was beautifully run out by ‘keeper Kohler-Cadmore’s direct hit to the non-striker’s end.

Phoenix came out of the powerplay ahead by two points at 41 for 2 thanks to Smith’s 20 off Wood’s third set, which included two stand-and-deliver sixes over the leg side.

By the end of the first innings, though, the home team had reclaimed the lead, albeit by a slim margin, as Liam Livingstone ran legspinner Ish Sodhi to short third to leave Phoenix 66 for 3 and in need of 97 more runs. 

But when Smith was defeated by Carter in the following set, it was clear that they had the upper hand. The decision was affirmed on review after the ball slipped under Smith’s bat and struck him on the toe.

Phoenix should have been five down in the following set, but Sams, who had caught the ball as Moeen flicked it into the leg side at deep midwicket, was unable to retain it as he fell. 

Whatever the case, Root managed to hold on to a brilliant effort as Moeen attempted to drag Sams in the following set. Then, the outstanding Carter bowled Chris Benjamin for two for 15 off his 20 as the visitors faltered to 90 for 6, requiring 73 from 26.

Sams claimed his third wicket after Howell hit him to cover, Sam Cook dismissed Milne, and Richardson was ruled to have been caught at midwicket following a protracted review.