Welsh Fire were defeated by Trent Rockets 152 for 6 (Munro 66*, Willey 2-15) by four runs. (Clarke 54, Sams 2-35)
With a thrilling victory over Welsh Fire, the Trent Rockets moved off the bottom of the standings. Bowler John Turner maintained composure with 14 needed off the final five balls.
He concluded with outstanding numbers of 1 for 22, while the New Zealander Colin Munro, who hit 66 off 35 balls after his team had been reduced to 40 for 4 early on, allowed the Rockets to build a respectable score. They eventually scored 152 for 6.
As they let the Rockets off the hook with the ball and never really got going with the bat, the loss is a setback to the Fire’s ambitions of finishing in the top three. Roelof van der Merwe needed to knock a six on the final ball to win, but he was only able to manage a single. The Fire concluded the game on 148 for 6, with Joe Clarke leading the way with 54 off 34.
The Welsh Fire’s bowling attack was equally as elite as the Trent Rockets’ international top order, so the host team decided to bowl first to make that danger known.
Early on, the bowlers won, with David Willey of England removing both of the starters. While Dawid Malan was out LBW trying to guide the ball down to fine leg, a review revealed that it would have nicked the leg stump. Alex Hales managed to get a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Clarke, who made a great diving grab.
Joe Root got things going in his customary busy way and also unleashed the ramp shot he has used so frequently this summer, but it was to get him out of a slower ball from Jake Ball that spooned up to Clarke due to Jake Ball’s lack of pace.
The Rockets were in big danger at 40 for 4 after 41 balls when van der Merwe got his first ball to turn and remove Tom Kohler-Cadmore for playing down the wrong line.
Samit Patel hit van der Merwe for a 94-meter six, but he died trying to duplicate the shot the following ball by top-edging into the covers and was caught by Stephen Eskinazi.
Harris Rauf’s excellent boundary fielding should have resulted in Munro being run out; however, Shaheen Shah Afridi attempted to throw the stumps down when a straightforward toss to keeper Clarke would have sufficed.
Then Munro hit van der Merwe for two big sixes.
Munro then hammered van der Merwe for two large sixes, and a further six off Rauf brought him to fifty off just 27 deliveries. Despite this, Pakistan’s star bowler Rauf only gave up 19 runs off 20 balls, and Munro finished with 66 off 35 as he led his team to a respectable score.
Daniel Sams dropped Stephen Eskinazi off Turner at 5, but the bowler was unstoppable when he struck Jonny Bairstow’s off stump, resulting in the Englishman’s second consecutive low score since joining the Welsh Fire, who was out for three.
Early on, Fire struggled to maintain the requisite rate, especially in the face of Luke Wood’s swing. Eskinazi died while attempting to hit Sam over the top after being intercepted by Joe Root, who was coming in from long-on.
Munro dropped Luke Wells at deep square off Lewis Gregory on 3, but he left for 8 when Sams successfully skied off Ish Sodhi again.
When Fire needed 34 from the final 15 balls, Clarke and Tom Abell did not have it easy, but they were able to keep the scoreboard moving without ever exceeding the rate. Abell was run out in the first, and Clarke was struck out in the fifth, all of which resulted in no runs. It turned out to be a no-ball and a free hit, which Clarke struck for six to keep the Fire in the game as they needed 26 points off of the last 10.
Before being caught at long-off, Glen Phillips hit 12 of those off Sams, leaving Clarke and David Willey with 14 to get from the last set. But Rocket and Turner maintained their composure.
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