Birmingham Phoenix( 147 for 2) trounced Northern Superchargers (142 for 8) by eight wickets in a thrilling encounter held at Headingley, Leeds, on August 17, 2021. Liam Livingstone was in explosive form, belting out sixes at will to help Birmingham Phoenix’s late rally ensure a berth in Saturday’s final match of the inaugural The Hundred T20 at the iconic Lord’s grounds in London.
Birmingham Phoenix won the coin toss and opted to field, unleashing a coordinated pace attack at the Northern Superchargers hapless batters. Livingstone also combined with Imran Tahir and self-styled “fast bowler” Benny Howell to return 5 for 61 in 60 balls. Coupled with Adam Milnes faultless death-bowling, Birmingham Phoenix restrained Northern Superchargers to only 143 runs. Chris Lynn and Tom Kohler Cadmore combined to hit 65 off a 25-ball Powerplay was the highlight of the first inning.
Livingstone led the Birmingham Phoenix onslaught with a battery of big hits setting a new record for the fastest fifty in this competition thus far. His ten sixes are also the highest in an inning in this competition. He amassed a total of 92 runs not out, tieing at the top, with Northern Supercharger’s Jemimah Rodrigues score in their opening game of The Hundred women’s cricket.
Finn Allen was first at the crease accruing 42 runs before being stumped out, Will Sneed was next, but he could not get any runs being bowled out on the first ball. Unstoppable Livingstone was next swinging for the hills at every opportunity. Livingstone pulled his 4th ball, from Parkinson, for six over deep backward square leg and was in the zone for most of his innings. He hit Parkinson for two more delicious straight sixes in his next set of five, and after swinging three Willey balls out of four into the stands on the leg side, the required rate was down at 1.13 runs per ball by the end of the Powerplay.
By the time Livingstone stepped off the crease, victory was all but certain. Tom Abell ticked over and observed from the non-striker’s end as Livingstone dipped and sent Matt Fisher down the ground for his tenth six. Livingstone could hardly contain his excitement shouting in jubilation. Birmingham Phoenix chased and exceeded their target with 26 balls left to play.
Apart from being the Birmingham Phoenix vs. Northern Superchargers match-winner, Livingstone has been impressive even in international cricket, especially in the T20I format scoring the fastest fifty and fastest century by an Englishman batter in 17 balls and 42 balls, respectively. Livingstone chose Birmingham Phoenix as his first pick in The Hundred, and it’s shaping up to be a match made in heaven.
Birmingham Phoenix needed a win or a tie to finish top of the table and advance to the final of The Hundred series, where they will face the winner of Friday’s Eliminator match between Southern Brave and Trent Rockets. Northern Superchargers were playing only for pride as they had already been eliminated. In addition, two of their players were missing in this fixture, Adam Lyth and Harry Brook, having tested positive for COVID last week. Northern Superchargers finished fifth overall in The Hundred standings.