Joe Clarke’s stellar knock helped Manchester Originals (MNR) grab their second victory in the Hundred. The visitors chased down a formidable total set by Welsh Fire (WEF) with seven wickets to spare. Clarke and Phil Salt put together 94 runs for the opening wicket. Debutant Leus du Plooy was excellent with the bat for the hosts.
In the absence of Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, Ben Duckett and Carlos Brathwaite led Welsh Fire and Manchester Originals, respectively. The visitors grabbed two wickets in powerplay after opting to bowl first. Left-arm spinner Tom Hartley grabbed the wickets of both the openers in his first ten balls.
Duckett continued from where he left off in the last game. The stand-in captain and Glenn Phillips added 41 runs for the third wicket. Brathwaite broke the stand by removing the Kiwi batsman, and Duckett, too, departed three balls later. Welsh Fire fans feared a collapse, but Leus du Plooy and Matt Critchley had other ideas.
Du Plooy hit sixes off Matt Parkinson, Lockie Ferguson, and Steven Finn, while Critchley, too, managed to find boundaries. The partnership was worth 60, and the home side scored 79 runs from their last 40 balls to post 150/3 in 100 balls.
Manchester Originals opening duo added 40 runs in the powerplay. They continued the assault, and Critchley was at the receiving end of some brutal hitting by Clarke. The leg-spinner conceded 21 runs in his second set of five. Clarke brought up his fifty in 25 balls. However, Ryan Higgins made the first breakthrough after Clarke holed out to du Plooy.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 31, 2021
The new batsman Colin Munro scored two boundaries off his fellow countryman James Neesham. Welsh Fire struck again as Critchley sent Salt back to the pavilion for 30. With spinners in the attack, Munro and Colin Ackermann struggled to find boundaries. Manchester Originals required 30 runs from the 20 balls.
Ackermann scored consecutive fours in Critchley’s final set of five, and Munro hit a six off Neesham. Manchester Originals lost the wicket of Ackermann in the 90th ball, but Munro wrapped up the match with consecutive boundaries.
WEF 150/6 in 100 balls (L du Plooy 43, B Duckett 32, M Critchley 30; T Hartley 2/11)
MNR 153 /3 in 95 balls (J Clarke 58, C Munro 33*, P Salt 30; R Higgins 1/9)
Player of the Match
Clarke stepped up in the absence of Buttler with a splendid 58 off just 31 balls. He left the Welsh Fire bowlers helpless with his quality hitting. After an excellent first set of five from Critchley, he demolished the 24-year-old in the next five. The Nottinghamshire batter hammered two sixes and a boundary. Qais Ahmad and David Payne, too, couldn’t contain Clarke.
Top Fantasy XI
J Clarke (82 pts), T Hartley (68 pts), L du Plooy (63 pts), M J Critchley (62 pts), B Duckett (48 pts), C Brathwaite (46 pts), C Munro (43 pts), P Salt (37 pts), C Ackermann (35 pts), R Higgins (34 pts), J Neesham (32 pts)
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