The Hundred’s opener started off with a thriller where over 250 points were scored as the Oval Invincibles were guided to victory over Manchester Originals by captain Dane van Niekerk.
The England and Wales Cricket Council revealed the original idea for the 100-ball tournament three years ago and it has finally become a reality with 7,395 spectators in attendance at the Kia Oval.
While the format comes with a lot of new rules, some things stay the same and Van Niekerk’s half-century saw the Invincibles chasing a 136-goal for the win by five wickets and with two balls to spare.
He capped a memorable evening in the capital with Marizanne Kapp, wife of Van Niekerk, also claiming the honor of taking the first wicket despite starting proceedings with a wide leg, but cricket improved from that time to the delight of a young crowd.
While Originals captain Kate Cross correctly called the toss and chose to strike first, the opening round of the competition came via an extra once fireworks display and flamethrowers erupted at the Kia Oval.
Kapp started the procedure with a wide leg before the first point of the bat was awarded to visiting opener Lee after a slim-leg down shot that almost went to the limit after Shabnim Ismail initially gone bad.
The South African bowler made history soon after, after taking the opportunity to throw 10 straight balls, as on her seventh legal delivery Emma Lamb was caught by Sarah Bryce for a duck.
Referee Tim Robinson had made a surprise call, but brought criticism to The Hundred’s opening wicket before the races started to sink.
Lizelle Lee, one of the five Proteas involved, hit two limits from Tash Farrant before number three Georgie Boyce joined the group with two fours from Kapp.
The Originals had reached 36 for one after 25 balls, the end of the power play, and it was soon the spinners’ turn with Captain van Nierkerk passing for 10 deliveries and Mady Villiers doing the same.
It was England international Villiers who scolded the next wicket with Boyce cutting Georgia Adams to extra cover, which saw Indian T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur the next hitter.
Halfway through the scoreboard read 59 for two, but Kaur quickly rounded out the loud music with an expansive range of shots.
Villiers, who had thrown 10 balls in a row in his first stint, came away and it quickly turned into a bad decision with four of the last five deliveries sent to the limit by the right-hander.
Lee’s enterprising 42 innings ended with the return of Farrant, who also sent Kaur back to the flag after a dashing 16-ball 29.
The original Cross captain was now in the crease and the skipper sent the ball over the limit rope for the first time with an extended lift for an opening six in The Hundred.
England international Sophie Ecclestone followed suit with a maximum as the visitors made 135 for six of their 100 balls with Kapp and Farrant claiming two scalps apiece, but the innings’ greatest joy went to a young girl in the crowd for a sterling interpretation of “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa at the microphone of a presenter.
Cross, fresh from 12 steps on four deliveries, quickly dashed hopes for a home win with two wickets in two balls early in the Invincibles’ innings after singer Becky Hill entertained the crowd from the DJ stage.
There was not to be a hat-trick on opening night, but with a 26-for-three score at the end of the power play, it seemed inevitable that the Originals would prove to be the most invincible team on the game. ‘oval this time.
When Cross called for a third wicket, it seemed conceivable that the crowd could be harmed by some deliveries, but Captain Van Niekerk – rightly so – developed a partnership with fellow South African Kapp, with the married couple being able to take over. a little momentum.
Two Kaurs for Van Niekerk started the response, but halfway through it was 78 points needed for a home win.
Abandoned catches in quick succession suddenly changed the odds even more with Mignon du Preez only able to parry a tough chance on Kapp’s six-party border rope which saw the home duo conjure up the fifth partnership.
When Van Niekerk coldly swept Lamb for four, it took her to 43 – the highest score in the game – and made the equation a favorable 37 on 24 balls with six wickets in hand.
Kapp claimed another Cow’s Corner high soon after, but – as with the three years since the tournament concept was unveiled – more twists were on the way with the South African stalling the next ball by Ellie Threlkeld off Ecclestone.
But Van Niekerk was able to evoke his half-century, the first in the competition with another sumptuous frontier and then Villiers showed his abilities at bat thanks to a timely maximum.
The local fans in attendance were now full of noise and rightly so, it was Invincibles captain Van Niekerk who hit the wins, a thick edge flying past the wicket keeper to take the win with 56 unbeaten on 42 balls .
It might be a very different format, but ultimately the team with the most points still wins with the hosts’ 139 for five beating the original effort of 135 for six.