Patel blows, Riaz four-for guide Rockets to top spot

Cardiff (Agencies): A quickfire 46 from Samit Patel and a superb spell of death bowling from Wahab Riaz took Trent Rockets to the top of the Hundred table as they brushed aside the Welsh Fire in Cardiff.
Fire had looked set for a very big total after a 72-run stand between Glenn Phillips and Leus du Plooy, but Wahab brought Rockets back into the game at the death.
The early dismissal of D’Arcy Short and a cluster of wickets in the middle of Rockets’ innings had given the Fire hope of defending the 140-run target but Patel’s intelligent innings took the Rockets to a straightforward win. Victory takes Rockets to eight points, two points clear of the chasing pack with three group matches still to play.
Fire lost two early wickets with Tom Banton and Ian Cockbain both falling inside the Powerplay. Phillips and Ben Duckett looked to rebuild after the loss of both openers, taking the fire to 53 before Duckett was the third wicket to fall when he skied a catch off Steven Mullaney to Riaz.
That brought together du Plooy and Phillips who put on the biggest stand of the match. Phillips brought up his first half-century of the competition from just 34 balls. Unfortunately for the home team he could not go on from there, falling to the very next ball.
With Phillips and du Plooy well set Fire were eyeing up a total 150 or more. That became 139 for 8 at the end of their 100 balls thanks to a superb final 10 from Wahab Riaz in which he conceded just 11 runs and claimed three wickets.
Rockets looked to build a solid platform at the start of their innings, reaching 31 for 1 at the end of their Powerplay. Qais Ahmad removed Dawid Malan and Alex Hales while Mullaney fell to David Payne, giving Fire a chance of defending the total. But Patel and Lewis Gregory put on an undefeated stand of 69 from just 33 balls to take their side to victory.
Gregory was bowed by Payne with 25 still needed but a no-ball was picked up by the third umpire and the Rockets pair quickly finished the job in Matt Milnes’ next set.
Patel’s innings included five sixes, including a big shot over the bowler’s head to win the game. Rockets won by six wickets with 10 balls to spare and they are very well placed to claim one of the three spots in the latter stages of the tournament.