Nathan Ellis and Jordan Thompson’s power play exploits helped London Spirit to a treble victory over city rivals Oval Invincibles in a thrilling hundred derby.
Australian fast bowlers Ellis (three for 28) and Thompson (two for 31) destroyed the Invincibles’ top order as they reduced the home side to 12 for four and chased 172 to win at The Oval.
That seemed to have ended the Invincibles’ hopes of a win, but Hilton Cartwright (42), Jordan Cox (39) and Danny Briggs (29 not from 11 balls) nearly pulled off the most unlikely wins, only for Thompson to keep his cool a breathless departure.
Previously, Eoin Morgan proved the mainstay of Spirit’s 171 for six, the former England skipper making 47 of 29 balls with five fours and three sixes.
Zak Crawley (21), inevitably in the spotlight after his lackluster summer with England so far, gave Spirit a boost early on the power play with four boundaries, including back-to-back sweeps against Briggs.
Opening mate Adam Rossington briefly caught the mood by heaving up Mohammad Hasnain for two big sixes before holed in deep in front of the same bowler attempting a third.
Glenn Maxwell failed to shine, munching 16 balls for his 18 and with Morgan slowly getting going, Spirit was halfway through his submission at 74 for three.
A thoroughbred pull-shot for six and a bold dink over keeper Sam Billings from the middle of the bat broke Morgan’s bonds and he and Dan Lawrence then pocketed in a set of five from Hasnain after 23 runs.
The pair added 72 in 39 balls before the frugal Sunil Narine (two for 25) bowled Lawrence to recheck the visitors’ progress.
Morgan’s fine performance ended three half-century ago when he holed out against England paceman Reece Topley (one for 26), but a late six from the otherwise calmed Kieron Pollard lifted Spirit to 171.
Invincibles launched a nightmare in response.
Jason Roy’s struggles with the white balls continued as Ellis caught him for a golden duck from the first ball of the innings before Thompson scored twice in the third set of five, Sam Curran tamed into the hands of Maxwell and the dangerous Will Jacks failed on Catch in the deep.
And when Ellis returned to remove Skipper Billings for a single caught after a third refereeing, the hosts were left utterly bewildered.
Only 20 runs came off the power play and while Cox and Australia’s Cartwright stemmed the bleeding, the rate continued to rise.
But Pollard gave Cox a life on 21 when he spilled a regular catch to deny Thompson a third wicket, and when Cartwright hit a short Chris Wood 103 yards home hopes flared again.
The all-rounder drove one of leg-spinner Mason Crane over the ropes in the next set but was killed on the next delivery and outplayed wicketkeeper Rossington to end the score at 74.
Cox and Tom Curran continued the search for an unlikely win but Ellis returned to bowl the former and when Curran (27) holed in at depth, matters looked lost.
However, Briggs refused to give up the pursuit, reducing the goal to 17 from the final set. The spinner hit back-to-back fours in front of Thompson, but Narine was unable to hit the sixes needed from the last ball as Spirit crawled home.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/eoin-morgan-jordan-thompson-australian-glenn-maxwell-sam-billings-b2138569.html Nathan Ellis and Jordan Thompson help London Spirit to an exciting Derby victory