Manchester Originals 89 for 4 (Buttler 30) beat Birmingham Phoenix 87 (Parkinson 4-9) by six wickets
was the star of the show on his home ground as the Manchester Originals brushed aside Birmingham Phoenix to register their first victory of the Hundred. Parkinson's 4 for 9 helped bamboozle the visitors on a used surface at Emirates Old Trafford as Phoenix became the first team in the competition to be bowled out inside their 100-ball allocation.
Having won the toss and chosen to bat, no one in the Phoenix line-up scored more than Moeen Ali'
s 15 from 18 balls, and they eventually succumbed for 87 with 16 deliveries unused. Set a target that required them to score at less than a run a ball, the Originals went about their business with only a modicum of fuss while a decent crowd supped pints in the evening sunshine.
cracked four fours in 22 from 11 balls and Jos Buttler
, the Originals captain making his second and final appearance in the group stage before reporting for Test duty with England, set himself to do the heavy lifting in chiselling out 30 from 31. Buttler was bowled by Liam Livingstone
- another Old Trafford favourite but on this occasion wearing the orange and red of Phoenix - with three runs needed, but so promptly did the Originals dispatch the visitors that the floodlights had barely begun to take effect.
The shifting sands of new teams transposed over existing county affiliations should make for a number of intriguing match-ups during the Hundred, none more so than here. The Originals were captained by Buttler, a Lancashire player albeit one who has only played two Blast games on the ground in the last three years, and included the spin savvy of Parkinson and Tom Hartley,
while the opposition featured Livingstone and Finn Allen, the New Zealand opener who last week was making use of the home dressing room.
Given their respective statuses with Lancashire and England - and some of the banter flying back and forth in the build-up - Parkinson's duel with Livingstone almost fitted the bill of appointment to view. Little more than a week ago, Livingstone recorded the fastest white-ball hundred by an Englishman in the Trent Bridge T20I against Pakistan. A few days later he cleared the Football Stand at Headingley ("he claims he's hit two bigger" - Parkinson; "that was Matt telling lies" - Livingstone), then smashed a first-ball six at Old Trafford to ease England nerves in the third T20I. Parkinson, meanwhile, had been quietly successful on his recall to international colours, taking six wickets across five ODI and T20I appearances.
In the event, though, their contest was blink-and-you'll-miss-it. Parkinson's first ball was a tossed-up legbreak that Livingstone tried to hit the cover off, only to skew an edge to short third. "He has been saying he's going to bat halfway down the wicket to me, so to get him out first ball was great," Parkinson said with a smile at the interval.
Parkinson rips the contest apart
No team had been bowled out in the Hundred to this point, but it was going to happen sooner or later (Phoenix's women nearly managed it on the same pitch a few hours earlier). Sure enough, after battling through treacle for three-quarters of their innings, Phoenix duly went down in flames - sliding from 80 for 5 to 87 all out in the space of 11 deliveries. The Originals attack were all adept at fulfilling their roles, with the spinners setting the tone and Carlos Brathwaite effective in bowling his cutters into the pitch.
Parkinson had already picked up the key wicket of Livingstone and he returned late in the innings to execute the legspinner's brief of cleaning up the tail to perfection. The first ball of his final set was a Hollywood legbreak that pitched outside leg stump and left Chris Cooke gawping as it turned past the bat to hit off - a Ball of the Century candidate, if only Parkinson hadn't already bowled a better one this season to Adam Rossington in a Championship match. The last two batters, Tom Helm and Imran Tahir, proved easy fodder as Parkinson claimed three in four balls to finish with impeccable figures of 4 for 9 - including 13 dots out of 19.
This was the third short-format game on the same surface in six days, and anyone who saw the afternoon women's fixture, in which Phoenix managed to comfortably defend 113, would have got a steer about what to expect. The low-scoring struggle has a hallowed place in the game, of course, but in the end this contest was largely devoid of both boundaries and tension as Phoenix stumbled so badly with the bat that the Originals were never under pressure in their chase.
Following on from a run-laden evening at Headingley on Saturday, when the stands were regularly peppered as the Northern Supercharges and Welsh Fire racked up 341 runs over the course of 200 balls, this game highlighted just how important the surfaces provided for the Hundred will be - certainly in terms of entertainment. Both Ben Stokes and Jimmy Neesham, who were involved in the tonk-fest at Leeds, tweeted their criticisms of the pitch, which had originally been prepared for Tuesday's T20I between England and Pakistan, and even then was far more receptive to spin than most English surfaces.
There is clearly a tension here between tactically astute cricket and the freewheeling fare that gets the turnstiles clicking. "They're not usually like that, they're usually really good wickets here," Buttler said afterwards. And "good", from the competition organisers' perspective, surely means fours and sixes. Scrapheap Challenge may have run successfully for a decade on Channel 4 but that probably wasn't the free-to-air inspiration the ECB had in mind when designing a format to bring in new fans.
Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick