Benjamin stars in thrilling Phoenix win

London Spirit 144-6 (100 balls): Crawley 64, Denly 25; Milne 2-18, Howell 2-25
Birmingham Phoenix 148-7 (97 balls): Moeen 40, Benjamin 24*
Phoenix win by three wickets

Unknown 22-year-old Chris Benjamin catapulted himself into the spotlight by leading Birmingham Phoenix to a stunning last-gasp victory over London Spirit in the men’s Hundred.

In a thrilling finish that swung one way and then the other, Benjamin, who only made his professional debut five days ago, hit 24 not out from 15 balls to take Phoenix to a three-wicket win.

They needed 24 runs from 14 balls when Benny Howell was dismissed but Benjamin smashed two sixes – one of them an audacious reverse scoop over his shoulder – and a four, sending the sizeable home crowd wild.

That left Birmingham requiring one from the last five and, despite Chris Cooke falling, Adam Milne hit the winning runs with three balls to spare.

It capped another entertaining game for The Hundred, which also included stunning catches and expert bowling.

Zak Crawley earlier hit 64 for London Spirit, who are captained by England skipper Eoin Morgan and coached by Australia legend Shane Warne.

From zero to hero

South Africa-born Benjamin wasn’t even supposed to be playing in The Hundred three days ago.

He smashed 60 from 34 balls to take Warwickshire to victory in the Twenty20 Blast last Sunday and, when fellow wicketkeeper-batter Adam Hose was sidelined with injury, he was called up.

That T20 was his first professional match, making him the least experienced player in the competition.

It did not show.

He reverse-scooped Blake Cullen over the wicketkeeper’s head for s sensational six and followed that with a huge huge pull over square leg two balls later.

Many in the crowd wouldn’t have heard of him at the start of play but in the end they were singing “oh Benji, Benji…”.

More to follow.


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