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2nd Match, Cardiff, August 02, 2023, The Hundred Men's Competition
(40/40 balls) 94/3
(40/40 balls, T:95) 85/4

Fire won by 9 runs

Player Of The Match
57 (23)

Afridi, Wells snap Welsh Fire's winless streak

With just 40 balls per side, Manchester Originals fell nine runs short despite a late assault by Jos Buttler

Shaheen Shah Afridi took wickets with his first two balls for Welsh Fire  •  Getty Images

Shaheen Shah Afridi took wickets with his first two balls for Welsh Fire  •  Getty Images

Welsh Fire 94 for 3 (Wells 57, Little 2-22) beat Manchester Originals 85 for 4 (Buttler 37*, Afridi 2-24, Willey 2-17) by nine runs
A half-century from Luke Wells, followed by two wickets in the first two balls of the innings for Pakistan's Shaheen Shah Afridi set Welsh Fire on their way to a first Hundred victory since 2021.
With just 40 balls per side, Manchester Originals fell nine runs short of Fire's total of 94, despite Jos Buttler's unbeaten 37 off 18, and Max Holden's 37 off 18.
Afridi set the tone at the top, while fellow Pakistan bowler Haris Rauf went for just 15 in the middle overs to put Originals behind the run rate.
Fire's total was built around a superb 57 off 23 by opener Wells, allowing celebrations at Sophia Gardens as the team started with a win after losing every game last season.
The match was reduced to a planned 40 balls per side in an hour of cricket, with a 10-ball powerplay, following on from the abandonment of the women's game - which had been the first time a Welsh Fire match had been totally abandoned.
Originals won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bowl first. However, Fire opener Wells raced away against the pace of Josh Tongue, fresh from the Ashes, and then went after Josh Little.
He took the early strike, but when Joe Clarke did get a chance, he hit Little straight to point for the first wicket to fall. However, Fire had already made 25 off 10 balls.
Wells continued to dominate and find the gaps in the field, though Pakistan legspinner Usama Mir temporarily put the brakes on the scoring. However, he too went for big runs at the end, his last four balls going for 17.
Wells would eventually depart for 57 off 23 balls, caught on the boundary by Jamie Overton off Little as he went for another six.
Big-hitting David Willey was promoted up the order, while New Zealand's Glenn Phillips took the initiative with 19 off 12.
Fire would have wanted to top three figures, but had to settle with 94 off their 40 balls, Tom Hartley's last five balls of the innings only going for seven runs and fetching the the wicket of Phillips.
A lot was going to depend on the openers Phil Salt and Buttler to counter the threat of Afridi, but the Pakistan seamer made an immediate impact, his first ball swinging in to trap Salt lbw, his second a carbon copy to get rid of Laurie Evans. Holden, however, found the swing easier to cope with as Afridi bowled 10 balls straight, conceding 24.
Buttler started quietly before suddenly announcing himself with 10 runs off two balls from David Payne. He then smashed another huge six off Rauf. Despite that, Rauf only went for 15 off his 10 balls, leaving Originals needing 36 off the last 10 balls.
Holden was well caught at deep point by Phillips off the bowling of Willey, but Paul Walter announced his arrival with a huge six over midwicket before departing next ball. It meant Buttler's late assault was too little too late for Originals.

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