Moeen Ali returns to captain Birmingham Phoenix in Hundred final
Craig Overton will bolster Southern Brave in Eliminator against Trent Rockets as Allen and de Grandhomme depart
Moeen Ali and Craig Overton are available to play in the closing stages of The Hundred after both were released from their England duties.
Ali, who played his first Test on home soil for two years in England's second-Test defeat against India at Lord's, is set to return as captain of a Birmingham Phoenix squad seeking to win the inaugural title in Saturday's final at Lord's. Overton, who was called into the England squad when Ben Stokes announced his withdrawal for personal reasons, will link up with Southern Brave ahead of their Eliminator against Trent Rockets at The Kia Oval on Friday.
Ali, who scored 189 runs and took four wickets for Birmingham Phoenix in the opening six games of The Hundred before he was recalled for England, praised the efforts of Liam Livingstone leading Phoenix in his absence.
"I've loved every minute of The Hundred and captaining Birmingham Phoenix, as my home team in the tournament, has been an honour," Ali said. "Livi has done a fantastic job in leading from the front in the last two games and in getting us over the line to secure our place at Lord's. I can't wait to join back up with the squad and pushing us forward, hopefully to a first title."
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As stand-in captain, Livingstone struck the fastest fifty of the Hundred to date, off 20 balls, as Phoenix defeated Northern Superchargers on Tuesday. His 92 not out was the joint-highest score of the competition, alongside Jemimah Rodrigues in Superchargers Women's opening game, and his 10 sixes were the most in an individual innings. Livingstone also hit a 31-ball fifty as he led his side to victory over Trent Rockets last Friday.
Meanwhile, Finn Allen and Colin de Grandhomme are heading to Bangladesh for international duty with New Zealand. As a result, Phoenix have called up David Bedingham from Durham as their replacement for Allen while Southern Brave will bring in Tim David. Bedingham will play for Durham in Thursday's Royal London Cup Final before joining up with the squad the next day. David scored a match-winning century for Surrey last weekend, which put them into the Royal London Cup semi-finals, where they lost to Durham.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo