SOUTHERN BRAVE had not played a match a month ago but they will be known forever as the first winners of the men’s Hundred.
The team of England players James Vince, Chris Jordan, Craig Overton and Tymal Mills beat Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural final at Lord’s by 32 runs.
The Brave might be a made-up team with no history. But their players couldn’t care less and were hugging and punching the air.
To them, winning the Hundred is a huge achievement and there’s no doubt the tournament is here to stay.
Brave made 168-5 from their 100 deliveries and, despite a typical flurry from Liam Livingstone and a couple of meaty blows by Moeen Ali, Phoenix rarely looked like chasing down the runs.
Moeen was released to play in the final between appearing for England in the Second and Third Tests against India.
That shows how much the ECB want to promote the Hundred.
And a decent crowd of 24,556 – a few thousand short of capacity – proved the tournament has attracted plenty of interest with terrestrial TV coverage a big help.
Captain Vince said: “I think the squad has gelled together well in a short time and that’s been a key to our success.
“To get the opportunity to play here in a full house tonight on a Saturday evening is amazing, a perfect end to the competition.”
After Brave were put into bat, opener Paul Stirling made 61 from 36 balls including six sixes and then left-hander Ross Whiteley applied a brutal conclusion with 44 not out from 19 deliveries. Altogether, Brave hit 14 sixes and just seven fours.
Livingstone has been the star of the tournament with 23 sixes before the final and he added another four on his way to 45 from 18 balls.
But, just when he was threatening to turn the match Phoenix’s way, Livingstone was run out by Tim David’s direct hit from the cover boundary. After Moeen was caught at long-on, the Phoenix innings fizzled out.
The Hundred has caused divisions and controversy. Some see the tournament as a panacea for cricket, attracting new fans and bringing fun.
Others regard it with disdain, an unnecessary addition to a crowded summer that will harm county cricket and undermine England in Tests.
- Oval Invincibles won the women’s final when Southern Brave collapsed to an incredible 14-6 with South African all-rounder Marizanne Kapp taking three wickets in her first ten balls.
Brave managed to reach 73 all out but Invincibles won easily by 48 runs.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN NEW CUSTOMER DEALS
Source: The Sun