Trent Rockets commenced their title defence with a nail-biting six-run victory over Southern Brave in the opening game of The Hundred.
Sam Hain’s magnificent 63 off 39 balls rescued the Rockets from a precarious 54-5, guiding them to a competitive total of 133-8 at Trent Bridge.
England seamer Chris Jordan showcased his all-around prowess, claiming impressive figures of 3-18 with the ball and then contributing a crucial 22 runs from 11 balls with the bat, propelling the Brave within sight of victory. However, in the final set, Jordan’s dismissal proved pivotal, leading to the Brave’s eventual collapse, as they were bowled out for 127.
The Rockets faced early adversity after being put into bat, with England’s duo, Alex Hales and Dawid Malan, departing early in the powerplay, courtesy of Craig Overton’s bowling. The wickets continued to tumble until the arrival of Sam Hain and Imad Wasim. Wasim, a Pakistan all-rounder, was a late replacement for the injured Rashid Khan.
The partnership between Hain and Wasim blossomed, with Hain displaying an array of eye-catching shots, including an attempted reverse scoop that turned into a reverse pull for four. Their collaboration yielded a vital 78-run stand.
Jordan’s sharp fielding resulted in the run-out of Hain in the final set, breaking the partnership. He then proceeded to claim the wickets of Wasim and Matthew Carter with consecutive deliveries, completing an extraordinary team hat-trick.
Chasing a challenging target on a tricky batting surface, the 2021 champions Brave encountered a steady start, reaching 41-0. However, a mid-innings collapse led to them stumbling to 89-6. The Brave’s hopes were kept alive by Leus du Plooy and Chris Jordan, with the latter showcasing his clean-hitting abilities. Even after du Plooy’s dismissal, Jordan’s determination maintained the prospect of a dramatic finale.
In the final over, the momentum swung back and forth. Ultimately, it was Daniel Sams, the left-arm Australian bowler, who sealed the Rockets’ victory. With three balls remaining, Sams bowled out Jordan with a yorker, followed by Overton’s run-out off the next delivery. To conclude the game’s second team hat-trick, Sams trapped Tymal Mills lbw, sealing the Rockets’ thrilling triumph.
Following the electrifying conclusion of the Ashes on the previous day, The Hundred faced the challenge of delivering a captivating opening night. Despite a slow start and scarce boundaries, the first men’s match gathered intensity, culminating in an exhilarating finish that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Sam Hain’s superbly constructed innings, complemented by Chris Jordan’s impressive performance, added to the excitement of the event. The Hundred has returned with a promising start, promising more enthralling moments in the days to come.