Birmingham Phoenix are set to cross swords with the Oval Invincibles in the 18th match of The Men’s Hundred on Wednesday, August 4 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Despite starting the tournament with a victory, the Phoenix were on the backfoot in their next two matches against Manchester Originals and Southern Brave.
But they’ll be quite confident coming into this game as they turned the tables in their recent clash against the Trent Rockets, chasing down 144 with 26 balls to spare.
The Phoenix, currently captained by Moeen Ali, are positioned fourth in the points table, having won two and lost two of their matches thus far.
The Oval Invincibles, led by Sam Billings, on the other hand, kickstarted the tournament with a victory as well. Their second game against Eoin Morgan's London Spirits was called off due to rain and this is the only reason why they are two spots above the Phoenix.
The Oval Invincibles currently have five points in their bucket. A win in the upcoming encounter against Phoenix will take them to the top of the charts with seven points from five matches.
Both Phoenix and Invincibles must be desperate to continue their winning momentum and a victory for either of the two sides may take them to the top of the table.
Match: Birmingham Phoenix vs Oval Invincibles, The Hundred Men 2021
Date: August 04, 2021 (Tuesday)
Time: 11:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham
The weather will be partly cloudy with a slight chance of precipitation. Temperatures are expected to range between 13 and 21 degrees Celsius.
The prevailing overcast conditions should assist the fast bowlers in generating some swing in the early part of the innings. The spinners might not get any extra bit of assistance from the surface.
Overall, it is a good wicket to bat on but the batters need to carefully negotiate the swing in the first few minutes. 145 is the average score on this ground and the team winning the toss might look to field first.
Predicted Playing XIs
Fans and the management of Birmingham Phoenix will be quite pleased to see the numbers from the top order in their previous match against the Trent Rockets.
They seem to have found their opening combination after Finn Allen and Will Smeed gave their team a flying start to chase down a challenging total of 144 runs within 74 balls. The team's strength lies in its top five, which includes the likes of Liam Livingstone and Miles Hammond.
Adam Milne has been leading the bowling charge for the Phoenix with domestic veteran Benny Howell, medium fast bowler Pat Brown and speedster Tom Helm playing supporting roles. Imran Tahir is yet to fire in the tournament and will look to get into the groove.
Predicted XI: Moeen Ali, Finn Allen, Will Smeed, Liam Livingstone, Miles Hammond, Chris Benjamin, Benny Howell, Adam Milne, Tom Helm, Pat Brown, Imran Tahir
On paper, the Oval Invincibles are the side to beat. But the likes of match winners such as Jason Roy, Sam Billings, Sunil Narine, Curran Brothers, haven’t gelled well yet. Their last two matches saw them under pressure, where they collapsed in one and recovered in the next one.
Sam Billings’ captain’s knock and Laurie Evans’ small cameo of 28 from 17 balls helped their cause. Sunil Narine hasn’t made it big and Colin Ingram is yet to fire. The bowling has been superb though. Tom Curran and Saqib Mahmood have been leading the charge, bagging wickets at crucial junctures of the match.
Despite missing Sam Curran for the remaining half of the matches, they’ll feel lucky to find the presence of No. 1 ranked T20 bowler, Tabraiz Shamsi, in the lineup.
Predicted XI: Sam Billings, Jason Roy, Will Jacks, Sunil Narine, Colin Ingram, Laurie Evans, Jordon Clarke, Tom Curran, Tabraiz Shamsi, Reece Topley, Saqib Mahmood.
The Oval Invincibles might get the edge over the Phoenix as different players have been winning matches on different occasions for them. Jason Roy and Sam Billings were the most recent ones to find form with the willow.
Sunil Narine, Laurie Evans and Will Jacks do make valuable contributions in a consistent manner. Moreover, it is well known that bowlers win you matches in the shortest formats. Having said this, the bowlers of the Invincibles have restricted their opposition to within 130 in their last three matches.
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