FINAL BOUND: Birmingham Phoenix captain sends team to final
PA: Steve Paston
Birmingham Phoenix captain Liam Livingstone’s sensational all-round display, including a record-breaking unbeaten 92 off 40 balls, downed the Northern Superchargers and qualified his side for the Hundred final at Lord’s on Saturday.
The England limited-overs international claimed three for 25 with his varied spin as the Superchargers lost eight wickets for 48 in the final 46 balls of their innings, setting only 144 on a good Emerald Headingley pitch.
Livingstone then came in with the chase at six for one and blasted six sixes in his first 14 balls on the way to a fifty off 20 balls – the fastest of the competition. He also equalled Jemimah Rodrigues for the highest individual score in either the men’s or women’s competitions.
The Phoenix, winners by eight wickets with 26 balls to spare, top the group stage with six wins and face either Southern Brave or Trent Rockets in the inaugural showpiece.
Livingstone’s tally of 10 sixes was also the most by an individual batter in the Hundred.
The Superchargers’ 143 for eight was a curious innings.
After being inserted, they raced to 65 without loss in the 25-ball powerplay before subsiding.
New Zealand quick Adam Milne struck twice late on, but it was really pace off which did the trick as Livingstone, two-wicket medium pacer Benny Howell and wicketless Imran Tahir were all miserly.
They shackled a Superchargers side playing only for pride.
Things had looked good for the hosts early on.
Australian Chris Lynn viciously sliced a flat six over point off Milne, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore hit three sixes and two fours in Pat Brown’s set of five between the 20th and 25th balls.
He reached 50 off 24 before falling run out off the last ball of the innings for 71.
Livingstone sparked the Phoenix revival by getting Lynn for 34 and opposing skipper David Willey in a 10-ball set – 103 for two after 59.
He later added the scalp of his Lancashire captain Dane Vilas.
Willey bowled Will Smeed for a duck four balls into the Phoenix chase.
But it mattered not as Livingstone once again lit up the ground on which he famously cleared the Emerald Stand whilst batting for England in a T20 international against Pakistan last month.
Typically leg-side dominant, Livingstone took full toll on seam and spin. By the time he reached his half-century, including seven sixes, Phoenix were 74 for one after 35.
And they were not about to repeat the earlier collapse of their opponents.
Livingstone shared a second-wicket partnership of 106 with New Zealand opener Finn Allen, whose 42 off 26 was dwarfed by his skipper.
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