|Oval Invincibles 134-7 (100 balls): Blake 44* (28); Lintott 3-14
|Southern Brave 135-4 (95 balls): De Grandhomme 40* (28), Davies 40* (29)
|Southern Brave won by six wickets
Southern Brave held their nerve to qualify for the latter stages of the men’s Hundred and eliminate the Oval Invincibles with an enthralling six-wicket victory at The Ageas Bowl.
Chasing a tricky 135 in a must-win game, the hosts were wobbling on 68-4, but Colin de Grandhomme and Alex Davies both hit 40 not out, with the latter hitting a six to secure victory with five balls to spare.
Brave move to the top of the table on 11 points but they are not yet guaranteed a place in Saturday’s final at Lord’s, with Birmingham Phoenix able to surpass them should they beat Northern Superchargers on Tuesday.
However, the final three teams have now been decided, with Trent Rockets set to meet either Brave or Phoenix in Friday’s eliminator at The Kia Oval.
After a collapse that saw them lose six wickets for just 33 runs, the visitors needed Alex Blake’s fine 44 off 28 balls to post a challenging 134-7.
The Invincibles started superbly with the ball and in the field, but lost their discipline late on, as De Grandhomme and Davies’ assured partnership of 67 off 42 balls carried the Brave home in front of a raucous home crowd.
The quiet big man finally goes loud
New Zealand all-rounder De Grandhomme had struggled so far in The Hundred – having failed to take a wicket or pass single figures with the bat.
Coming in at six below fast bowler George Garton, who made a vital cameo of 23 off 17 balls, including two sixes, De Grandhomme started patiently in support of the set Davies.
But he then nailed a towering pull shot into the stands off Reece Topley before another mighty blow off left-arm wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi landed in the crowd and turned the tie in the Brave’s favour.
Despite his large stature, power hitting and flowing mullet, De Grandhomme is a reserved character off the pitch but the grand manner in which he found form here will bring great cheer to many fans, especially a partisan crowd at the Ageas Bowl.
Davies’ contribution must not be overlooked either, hitting three fours earlier in his innings before ensuring he kept the scoreboard ticking and then finishing the match in fine style.
His composure ensured the Brave never crumbled after falling to 32-3 early in their reply, with captain James Vince run out by Jason Roy, who also took a sublime diving catch to remove Quinton de Kock.
Invincibles’ discipline slips late on
The Invincibles made a rapid start with the bat, opener Will Jacks smacking 39 off 13 balls, only to slip to 79-6, with left-arm wrist-spinner Jake Lintott claiming 3-14.
Lintott, 28, is head of cricket at Queen’s College in Taunton and was a wildcard draft pick by the Brave but finishes the group stages as their top wicket-taker, on 10.
Garton’s 2-22 off 15 balls helped restrict the Invincibles further, only for Blake’s late hitting, including three sixes, set up an intriguing chase for the Brave.
The visitors were very impressive in the field for long stages, with Laurie Evans’ stunning throw running out Garton from the boundary after an initial slip.
England trio Saqib Mahmood, Tom Curran and Topley were also proving hard to hit away, until the latter bowled a poor no-ball down the leg side that resulted in overthrows from Shamsi and left the Brave needing less than a run a ball.
Topley responded with two dot balls, but Davies ensured the contest did not enter the final five deliveries with aplomb.
Even some of the greatest games of cricket can have some of the most embarrassing moments…