Alex Hales thumped his first half-century in The Hundred as Trent Rockets eased to a six-wicket win over Birmingham Phoenix at Trent Bridge.
The former England man made 58 from 41 balls and shared a 79-run partnership with Joe Root (34 not out from 26 balls) as the Rockets clinched the victory with three balls to spare.
Liam Livingstone smashed five sixes as he top-scored for the Phoenix with 47 from 28 balls but their total of 143-7 never looked like being enough.
Here’s what also happened:
- Phoenix skipper Moeen Ali looked in good form as he took down the Rockets' spinners, smashing back-to-back sixes off Matthew Carter to end the powerplay before holing out for 35 from 21.
- Livingstone replaced Moeen and went one better than his captain, hitting three sixes in a row – and off Rockets' star spinner Rashid Khan, no less! However, he fell just short of a 50 as a stuttering finish saw the Phoenix score only 17 runs from their last 15 balls.
- Australian left-armer Daniel Sams took three wickets for the Rockets and had the Phoenix batters bamboozled with his slower balls, while the evergreen Samit Patel took two wickets with Hales giving him two big helping hands with a brilliant catch to get Miles Hammond.
- Moeen bowled Dawid Malan with a 'pea-roller' early in the Rockets chase but the home side quickly took control with Hales, Colin Munro and Joe Root able to play relatively risk-free shots to chase down such a low total.
The Rockets will hope to make it two wins from two when they head up to Leeds to face Northern Superchargers at Headingley on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Phoenix host Southern Brave at Edgbaston on Wednesday in a repeat of last year’s final.