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Imran Tahir takes first Hundred hat-trick as Birmingham Phoenix smash

Imran Tahir took the first hat-trick of The Hundred as Birmingham Phoenix went top
Imran Tahir took the first hat-trick of The Hundred as Birmingham Phoenix went top (Picture: Getty)

Imran Tahir took the first hat-trick of The Hundred as Birmingham Phoenix smashed Welsh Fire to climb to the top of the table.

The South Africa spinner, who at 42 is the oldest player in the competition, wrapped up Welsh Fire’s innings with the final three wickets, finishing with figures of 5-25.

The Fire were trying to chase down Birmingham’s mammoth 184-5 – the highest score in the tournament – but were bowled out for just 91, largely thanks to Tahir’s heroics.

Speaking to Sky Sports after Phoenix’s 93-run victory, Tahir said: ‘Look, my job is to come on and try to take wickets. It’s been difficult because we’ve had some pretty flat wickets so far but I’m happy tonight.

‘Our batters set the tone for us and got a really big total to defend. Our seamers did a good job too.

‘We’re living in a sad time with Covid but to play in front of a crowd is a great feeling. I’m really grateful for all the fans for coming and supporting cricket.

‘I don’t take things for granted. Every opportunity is an honour for me so I try to do my best and try to do myself justice.

‘I knew what I was going to bowl [for the hat-trick ball]. I felt the batter would be preparing for the quicker one so I bowled a googly and I’m so happy that it worked.’

The first hat-trick of The Hundred came after the youngest player in the tournament – 19-year-old Will Smeed – blasted 65 off 38 balls and England all-rounder Moeen Ali hit 59 off 28 to propel the hosts to a huge score.

Birmingham’s win takes them top of the Hundred table with four wickets from six matches, while Welsh Fire stay second from bottom on four points.

Earlier in the day, India’s Shafali Verma produced one of the most impressive innings of the tournament – smashing an unbeaten 76 from 42 balls – to help Birmingham Phoenix Women beat Welsh Fire by ten wickets.

Evelyn Jones and Shafali Verma celebrated Birmingham Phoenix's emphatic win
Evelyn Jones and Shafali Verma celebrated Birmingham Phoenix’s emphatic win (Picture: Getty)

Openers Verma and Evelyn Jones – who made 52 – knocked off Fire’s 127-9 with 24 balls to spare as Phoenix boosted their hopes of reaching the play-offs.

Welsh Fire captain and former England wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor said: ‘You can tell instantly from the way she sets up that she wants to hit it and hit it hard.

‘It is more the sound off the bat, I know she is going to whack it, but you just wonder how far it is going to go.’

Southern Brave remain top of the women’s table with 10 points from a possible 12, while Manchester Originals are bottom having won just one game so far.

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