Wade's Hundred heroics set to be in vain

·3-min read

A typically pugnacious 81 from Matthew Wade set up a Birmingham Phoenix victory over London Spirit, but it may not be enough to earn them a place in the knock-out stages of the Hundred.

The battling Aussie came in with his team in dire straits at 2-2 and was out at 8-118 having scored at almost two runs a ball hitting two sixes and 11 fours.

Tailend countryman Tanveer Sangha then smashed a six and four to help Phoenix scramble over the line with a one-wicket win off the final ball.

However, Spirit needed to win in 73 balls, not 100. While Tuesday's victory took them to third their group stage is over and the teams immediately below them, Manchester Originals and Oval Invincibles, are still to face each other. Only if Wednesday's match is a tie, or a rained off no result, will Phoenix stay third as they have an inferior net run rate.

Third place earns a place in Friday's eliminator against Spirit, whose failure to gain a big win themselves cost them a direct route to Saturday's final. Instead Trent Rockets, featuring Daniel Sams, are now guaranteed a place in the final

Asked to bat Spirit began slowly, tied down by a bowling attack featuring Australians Kane Richardson (1-28 off 20 balls) and Sangha (0-20 off 20) but led by Toby Helm whose 4-17 off 20 would have been 5-11 had a last ball six by Liam Dawson not been dropped on the boundary by Brett D'Oliveira.

Aussie Ben McDermott's 36 off 29 balls gave impetus to their innings before Ravi Bopara (45 off 20 with five sixes) enabled them to set a decent target.

In reply Phoenix made a disastrous start as left-arm spinner Dawson (3-15 off 20) dismissed both openers within the first four balls. Wade came in and immediately set to work against Hobart Hurricanes teammate Nathan Ellis (0-35 off 20).

However, wickets continued to fall at the other end with leg-spinner Nathan Crane (4- 24 off 20) turning the screw.

When Sangha came into join Helm 18 were needed off 13. But the young Sydneysider was equal to the challenge taking it to the final ball. With two needed Brad Wheal bowled a wide, then Sangha scrambled a winning single.

"It was an interesting game, Wade said. "We were going out to chase the score in 73 balls but things didn't go to plan so we just reeled it back in and just went for the win. We will do the rain dance tomorrow and see how it goes.

"I enjoy the big games, it's been an interesting tournament. I've been down the order learning my craft and I've had the chance to go up. I'm just trying to be versatile for the team and hopefully over the next year I can become a multi-position player and bat wherever the team needs me."