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Trent Rockets 172 for 4 (Malan 58) beat Welsh Fire 143 for 6 (Critchley 55*, Shamsi 2-12) by 29 runs
Trent Rockets guaranteed themselves a qualification spot after a comfortable 29-run win against the Welsh Fire at Trent Bridge.
Batting first, the home side made 172 thanks to an 89-run opening partnership between Alex Hales and Dawid Malan, who made 58 from 37 balls, as well as cameos from Daniel Sams and Colin Munro.
The total was too much for the Welsh Fire, as the Rockets spinners Tabraiz Shamsi (2 for 12) and Samit Patel (2 for 23) spun them out of the game and ensured they would go the whole season without a win.
Put into bat, Rockets made a bright start, with the in-form Malan striking two boundaries to start the innings. The tournament's leading run-scorer has made batting look easy and Malan continued to impress, striking 26 from his first 12 balls to leave Rockets on 42 for 0 after the powerplay.
The opening partnership continued to find the boundary and took Rockets to 78 for 0 at halfway. David Payne would eventually get the breakthrough from the 58th ball as Hales found the off-side boundary sweeper to go for 38. The Nottinghamshire opener has scored over 250 runs in the group stages and put his name back into the conversation for an England call-up.
Someone who is certain to be flying to Australia for the T20 World Cup is Malan, whose 58 took his group-stage tally to 358 runs. He eventually fell from the 79th ball, holing out off the bowling of Matt Critchley.
The innings wasn't allowed to stutter at the end thanks to an entertaining cameo from the promoted Sams. The Australian clubbed two huge sixes off his second and third deliveries and didn't look back, striking 31 from 14 balls. His innings and that of Munro took the Rockets up to 172 for 4.
Welsh Fire would need to get their highest total of the season and with only Ben Duckett reaching the three-figure mark for tournament runs prior to the game, the odds seemed low on a Fire victory.
One underperforming star is Tom Banton, who produced a solitary score of note this season. The sometime England opener started well, crashing back-to-back fours before Cook got him lbw with a full toss to end a poor campaign.
Joe Clarke and Duckett took Fire through the powerplay on 33 for 1 but the introduction of spin, one of the Rocket's strongest weapons this year, brought a wicket. Patel did Clarke in the flight to have him stumped, bringing wild celebrations as Trent Bridge celebrated one of its favourite sons.
Critchley (55 from 35 balls) and Duckett began rebuilding the innings and had their side in with an outside chance at 71 for 2 after 50 balls. But Rockets' spinners struck again. Shamsi took the key wicket of Duckett after a good catch from Munro at mid-off. Four balls later, Shamsi dismissed fellow South African David Miller.
Patel would return and pick up another scalp to take his group stage tally to ten at an average of 16.40. With the spinners taking four wickets, the spark was put out of Fire's innings and Rockets could start planning for the eliminators.