Lynn makes run-a-ball 48, and Roy bats through for 53 not out, in low-scoring dogfight
Northern Superchargers 128 for 4 (Lynn 48, Brook 47*) whip Oval Invincibles 127 for 6 (Roy 52*, Curran 34*, Rashid 3-13) by six wickets
Harry Brook is the leading run-scorer in the men’s Hundred and his third imperative contribution in a row nearly single-handedly dragged Northern Superchargers to a last-gasp win to receive their crusade up and running on a sluggish Headingley pitch.Adil Rashid‘s miserly spell of 3 for 13 had helped restrict Oval Invincibles to 127 after they chose to bat, with Jason Roy and Tom Curran‘s unbroken stand of 67 for the seventh wicket leading a recovery from 60 for 6. Their late fireworks meant it gave the look of a par score on a two-paced surface which took a variety of turn, but Brook’s mature, controlled innings saw the Superchargers home.Brook came in at No. 4, the role he started to perfect for Yorkshire in this season’s Vitality Blast, with the Superchargers 23 for 2 after 21 balls. He gritted out a partnership of 64 off 59 balls with Chris Lynn, taking a look each and every bit the senior player as Lynn struggled for timing, before closing out the game with John Simpson, whose huge straight six sealed the win with three balls to spare.
Brook no argument
Brook used to be knocked off top spot in the Blast’s run charts in the last rounds of the group stage and looks decided to make sure the same destiny will not await in the Hundred. He played an important hands to retain their first two games – against Welsh Fire and Trent Rockets – alive, and at the third time of asking, dragged them home with the night’s most fluent innings, a cool-headed 47 not out off 30 balls.
He used to be circumspect against Sunil Narine, rightly recognising him as the Invincibles’ main threat, but used to be self-assured in taking down Curran and Tabraiz Shamsi. He scored runs everywhere in the ground, sweeping firmly but also hitting down the ground, through point and through additional cover, and batted with huge regulate to retain the required rate in check all the way through.
“There wasn’t many runs on the board so me and Lynny were just trying to knock it round and take the dangerman out of it,” he said. “It’s nice to win, particularly in front of a home crowd with a couple of Yorkshire lads playing. I’ve said a large number of times I need to be a match-winner and that’s the reason a good example of it there.”
This can be a signal of England’s white-ball depth that Brook – described by Mark Butcher as a “beefed up, contemporary version of Joe Root” – did not make their second-string ODI squad earlier this month. Provided his regulate and range of shots against both pace and spin, he’s sure to win wider recognition – either internationally or in franchise tournaments – before long.
Harry Brook whips one into the legside Getty Images
Invincibles’ slow start … and middle
Invincibles opted to bat on the assumption that the pitch would only get slower, but they eked out only 18 Powerplay runs, the fewest in the men’s competition to date. The openers managed six between them before Will Jacks nicked Brydon Carse in the back of, and pinch-hitter Narine’s leg-side thrash off Matty Potts used to be the only boundary in the first 25 balls as the Superchargers’ seamers kept their lines tight to cramp the top order for room.
Narine came up against his biggest weakness – back-of-a-length high pace with no width – but managed to receive two further blows absent when the fielding restrictions lifted, twice slapping Carse over the leg side before holing out off Mujeeb Ur Rahman for a useful cameo of 22 from 11 balls. The value of Narine’s innings became an increasing number of lucid as the innings wore on: between the 33rd ball (Narine’s dismissal) and the 79th, the Invincibles failed to hit a unmarried boundary as the spinners took over.
Rashid had Colin Ingram caught on the cover boundary, Potts bowled Sam Billings as he backed absent to chop, and Rashid struck in consecutive balls when Laurie Evans picked out deep midwicket and Dane Vilas held onto a blinding slip catch to take away Jordan Clark. With Tabraiz Shamsi, a genuine tailender, carded at No. 9, Curran used to be forced to consolidate alongside the scratchy Roy, who repeatedly stared at the pitch in disbelief after balls stuck in the surface.
The Roy-Curran show
At 72 for 6 off 78 balls, the Invincibles were deep in the mire, but some lusty late-innings hitting dragged them up towards a par score. Roy evoked the innings played by Alex Hales – his long-time England opening partner – in the Superchargers’ final completed game, gritting out 25 from his first 34 balls before slog-sweeping Mujeeb over the leg side, while Curran hit consecutive boundaries through midwicket before a sumptuous, checked straight drive flew down the ground for six.
David Willey missed his length at the death, hitting the slot with every of the innings’ last three balls and used to be thumped for six, six and four as Roy cut loose at the final. The last boundary brought up his half-century, a tough grind that took 43 balls, and the unbroken 67-run stand in 42 balls for the seventh wicket helped them towards something they thought they could defend.
While the Hundred’s double-header constitution this year has done great things for the women’s game with regards to greater crowds and exposure, an unintended consequence has been numerous slow-burning men’s matches on slow, used pitches. This used to be no different, with neither side ready to hit boundaries often.
Lynn used to be especially slow-burning, top-edging a six off Saqib Mahmood when Billings opted to reward his early dismissal of Willey with a second consecutive set of five balls but another way struggling to find the rope. He eventually holed out to Evans at wide long-off, opting to attack the last ball of Narine’s spell, leaving a tricky equation of 31 off 20 balls.
But the Invincibles struggled to deal with the greasy outfield as the chase wore on, a result of the rain earlier in the day, and were sloppy in the deep to help the Superchargers turn several ones into twos. Mahmood’s nightmarish drop of Simpson with 26 needed off 15 used to be especially crook, not least when Simpson sliced Curran for four through third man and then slogged him down the ground for six to seal the win, standing open-armed in celebration as the Superchargers completed their first win.
Matt Curler is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98