Trent Rockets captain Lewis Gregory led from the front as his side defeated the Manchester Originals by two wickets with just two balls to spare in a tense men’s Hundred final at Lord’s on Saturday.
The climax to the second season of the 100 balls per side tournament, a controversial innovation in English cricket given the impact eight specially created teams have had on the schedule of the existing 18 first-class counties, looked like being a one-sided affair.
Medium-pacer Sam Cook took 4-18 as the Rockets restricted the Originals to a seemingly modest 120-9 on a slow pitch, with Australian Ashton Turner’s 26 the top score of the innings.
But England batsman Dawid Malan’s 19 was the highest score of the Rockets’ reply, with Alex Hales – bidding for an international recall – out for just eight.
At 110-8, the Rockets needed 11 to win from the final set of five balls – the Hundred does not feature traditional overs – bowled by England international Richard Gleeson.
Gregory, himself an England all-rounder, promptly launched Gleeson over mid-off for six before flicking the subsequent full toss for four and then hitting the winning runs as he finished 17* off six balls.
“It was nice to be there at the end and get the team over the line,” said Gregory.
The Hundred also features a parallel women’s competition.
Earlier on Saturday, South Africa’s Marizanne Kapp and England rising star Alice Capsey led the way as the Oval Invincibles retained their title with a five-wicket win over Southern Brave.
In front of a record crowd of 20,840 at Lord’s – the highest attendance for a domestic women’s match in England – the Invincibles beat the Brave in the final for the second year in a row by chasing down a target of 102 with six balls to spare.
The 32-year-old Kapp took 1-19 and led the chase with 37*, while teenager Capsey, the breakout performer from last year’s tournament, returned figures of 2-17 and made a useful 25.
“The way Kapp batted was awesome,” said Invincibles captain Suzie Bates. “She shows up for those tough moments.”
“One hundred percent she’s one of the best all-rounders in the world and she showed why.”
The New Zealand great hailed Capsey as a “big-moment player”, adding: “Under pressure you need to be brave and she’s done that all season.”
© Agence France-Presse