England's Livingstone fires Phoenix into Hundred final

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Hundred heroics - England's Liam Livingstone
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Birmingham Phoenix stand-in captain Liam Livingstone hit a stunning unbeaten 92 off 40 balls during a superb all-round display as his side secured their place in inaugural final of English cricket's Hundred competition with a dominant eight-wicket win at the Northern Superchargers on Tuesday.

The England all-rounder had earlier starred with the ball, taking 3-25 with his assorted spin as the Superchargers were held to 143-8.

But on a Headingley ground where last month Livingstone launched Pakistan's Haris Rauf for an astonishing six straight over the newly redeveloped Football Stand during a T20 international, it was Livingstone's batting that again caught the eye.

Having taken guard with the Phoenix 6-1, he smashed six sixes in his first 14 balls and hit 10 in all, the most by either a man or woman in the inaugural edition of the 100 balls per side tournament.

Livingstone's innings was also the equal highest individual score in the Hundred, with India's Jemimah Rodrigues having made 92 for the Superchargers against the Welsh Fire in the women's competition in July.

The 28-year-old, who made his name with Lancashire, was the Phoenix's first pick in the initial draft for the Hundred.

He found himself leading the Birmingham club after regular captain Moeen Ali was recalled to England's Test squad during the ongoing India series.

"I've felt a little bit more pressure since Mo's gone away," Livingstone said afterwards. "We've got a young, fearless line-up and we've seen some great talent coming through."

This season has also seen Livingstone compile England's quickest T20 hundred, off just 42 balls, against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in July.

"I don't think I've seen an England batter burst on the scene quite like this since Kevin Pietersen," said Nasser Hussain while commentating on Sky Sports.

"In white-ball cricket, we have found another one. This guy can hit a seriously big ball," the former England captain added.

Birmingham are now guaranteed to take top spot in the men's Hundred table, meaning they go directly into Saturday's final at Lord's.

Southern Brave face Trent Rockets in Friday's eliminator.


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