Birmingham Phoenix and Welsh Fire face each other at Edgbaston on Thursday August 10th, 6pm, with a solitary win so far between them. The weather has been the main culprit, certainly for Phoenix, who have had two ‘no results’ courtesy of the rain.
They look for their first elusive success here against Fire, who have a full set themselves so far of a loss, a tie, and a precious victory. No team in this year’s Hundred has won more than one match so far, so the outright betting certainly reflects that at this stage and is wide-open.
Phoenix are thought more likely to figure at the sharp end between these two sides overall, but as I say it’s early days and everything is very much up for grabs.
Weather permitting we might just get a cracker at Edgbaston on Thursday; and did I see somewhere that there’s sunshine predicted? Get in … fingers crossed!
As I understand it, the electric Jonny Bairstow won’t be playing for Welsh Fire until weekend. He’s resting after his England exploits, and don’t forget those Test match exertions against the Aussies came after a difficult period of recovery from injury.
They’ll miss his aggressive, charismatic batting, but Welsh Fire still appeal to me as the most likely winner of this clash at one of England’s great Test venues, Edgbaston.
They could hardly get out of their own way last term in this competition, but look far stronger this time around. Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf have been signed to lead the attack, and Afridi’s trademark inswinging yorkers are a sight to behold.
Meanwhile Rauf is rapid – one of the quickest in the tournament. These two can play in six of the eight group matches before Test responsibilities whisk them away.
For Phoenix, Moeen Ali is expected to lead a side that contains plenty of big guns – Liam Livingstone, Kane Richardson and Ben Duckett among them.
Welsh Fire to win @ 6/5
As alluded to above their attack is different level now, and even without Bairstow, Joe Clarke in particular at the top of the order has been in prime nick, hitting 69 the other day against the Invincibles in a thrilling tie.
Welsh Fire top scorer Joe Clarke @ 3/1
Ben Green added a few late runs too but that apart Clarke was in a class of his own on the night, for Fire. I’m hoping he’s similarly greedy for runs on Thursday. Clarke’s 69 came off 46 balls, with 8 fours and 2 sixes.
Apart from Moeen, the Phoenix attack contains exciting young quickie Tom Helm. That tussle with Clarke at the sharp end could go a long way to deciding the destiny of this contest.
The betting for the match is Birmingham Phoenix 4/6, Welsh Fire 6/5. In what could, indeed should, be a tight affair I’m happier taking the odds against, and with a side that in my mind are on the up, too. Big hopes for an uninterrupted evening’s fun in Brum.