Birmingham Phoenix and London Spirit’s men and women’s teams will play their first-ever Hundred games on Friday, with several star names set to be involved (Men’s match betting – Phoenix 8/11, Spirit 21/20).
The brand-new 100-ball franchise kicked off in fine style on Wednesday as the Oval Invincibles’ women defeated Manchester Originals by five wickets with two balls to spare.
The men’s teams play their corresponding fixture on Thursday before attention turns to Edgbaston. Experienced England all-rounder Moeen Ali skippers the Phoenix and is one of two “Local Icon” players along with Pat Brown.
He says his team should be competitive given the form players on their books.
“We’ve got some very good players, and importantly, they’re in good form as well,” said the 34-year-old.
“Like many of the teams, we’ve had a few withdrawals with injuries and stuff, but I’m very excited to play with some players that I don’t even know much about and haven’t played with before.”
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One of those players is Liam Livingstone, who arrives into The Hundred fresh from a fantastic century against Pakistan in England’s first T20 win – the fastest hundred ever recorded by an England international (Phoenix top run-scorer – Livingstone 3/1).
Phoenix will also be aided by the experience of South African Imran Tahir, with the spin bowler excelling in the shorter formats of the game.
Spirit also have some excellent players in their ranks, with England white-ball skipper Eoin Morgan and Local Icon Dan Lawrence among the names involved.
The women’s matchup should also prove to be close, with the contest taking place just before the men’s (Women’s match betting – Phoenix 4/5, Spirit EVS).
Phoenix’s squad includes 17-year-old Indian batswoman Shafali Verma, one of the most promising young players in the game.
However, experience may count in Spirit’s favour as their squad includes the likes of Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont, who were essential in England’s 2017 Cricket World Cup win.