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Liam Livingstone-led Phoenix top table with win over Rockets




Liam Livingstone heaves to the leg side © Getty Images

Birmingham Phoenix 166 for 6 (Livingstone 50, Hammond 38*) beat Trent Rockets 150 for 9 (Mullaney 49, Brown 3-27) by 16 runs

Birmingham Phoenix added a first away win to their 100 percent home record to climb above Southern Brave at the top of The Hundred men’s table but the three qualifiers for the knock-out phase will not be known until all the contenders have played their final matches.

Phoenix were without skipper and talisman Moeen Ali after his England recall but Liam Livingstone led from the front in his place, smashing 50 off 31 balls. Miles Hammond was 38 not out from 20 as they racked up 166 for 6 after being put in, Sam Cook taking 2 for 32.

Steven Mullaney hit 49 for the Rockets, who were always up against it after their top three all misfired, Pat Brown taking 3 for 27, Dillon Pennington 2 for 11 on his tournament debut and Imran Tahir 2 for 26 as the home side went down by 17 runs, although they can still claim a place in the knock-out phase.

Phoenix were 41 for 1 from 25 balls, Will Smeed having been caught by a diving Mullaney at short midwicket but Livingstone and Finn Allen added 71 from 45 balls for the second wicket before Allen, dropped by Mullaney at wide long-off on 19 and having hit Matt Carter into neighbouring Fox Road, was bowled by 91mph yorker from Marchant De Lange for 29 off 22.

Livingstone was going for a fourth six off Samit Patel when he was brilliantly caught at long-off as Mullaney skipped over the rope and back to pull off the parry-catch manoeuvre that is now familiar but no less impressive for that.

Chris Benjamin top-edged a Cook slower ball but Hammond got after Rashid Khan and De Lange as balls 80 to 90 saw the total swell by 31. A Benny Howell steepler off Cook dropped into the hands of deep midwicket and Chris Cooke was run out in a final set by de Lange that conceded only five runs.

Pennington, called up for his first outing, announced himself in spectacular style, dismissing Alex Hales and David Malan to remove the Rockets’ biggest threats in the space of four deliveries as Hales was bowled backing away and Malan, dropped at point first ball, feathered a catch behind.

D’Arcy Short departed in the Powerplay too, after which Mullaney and Patel threatened to fashion a Nottinghamshire-built recovery before Imran Tahir, lofted for six by Mullaney, produced a superb googly to bowl the latter for 16 off eight and at halfway Rockets needed another 92.

Mullaney stuck around for 49 from 33 but after skipper Lewis Gregory fell for 25 off 17 no one could come up with the innings to help him get the Rockets over the line. Tom Moores was caught at long on, Khan at deep cover, Mullaney himself at deep square leg and Carter bowled as Rockets finished on 150 for 9.

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