Billings leads by example to steer Invincibles into Sunday’s final

Oval Invincibles   vs  Trent Rockets

Men’s Hundred   Monday 21st August 2023

Trent Rockets  148-7 (100)      Oval Invincibles 151-5 (92)

Oval Invincibles won by five wickets

Peter Moore at the Kia Oval

Oval Invincibles captain Sam Billings led by example by steering his side into their first Men’s Hundred final. Billings struck an unbeaten 76 from 40 balls to help the London outfit hold on to top spot in the table and an automatic place in Sunday’s final.

Trent Rockets won the toss on a glorious Monday evening in SE 11, with another huge crowd present.

Gus Atkinson- returning back into the side- struck with just his fourth ball when Alex Hales(4) perished in the deep.

Joe Root was rehearsing his trade mark scoop shot to Spencer Johnson’s second ball but missed, however he nailed the next ball in stunning fashion by moving away and scooping the ball high into the top tier of the stand before Johnson immediately bowled Root(9) next ball to leave Rockets 19-2 after 14 balls.

Spin Was introduced into the attack and proved successful with Adam Zampa and Nathan Sowter striking early on, before Colin Munro hit Sowter back over his head for consecutive maximums as Rockets reached the half way point with 74 on the board.

The visitors were rescued by a partnership of  70in 46 balls between Munro and captain Lewis Gregory which was broken when Munro(36) top edged Zampa to be caught at cover by Will Jacks.

Gregory(35) quickly followed after a low full toss from Tom Curran got a leading edge from Gregory’s bat high in the air with Sam Billings judging the ball well to take a good catch running back at fine leg.

Despite some late hitting from Daniel Sams(19) off 9 balls, Trent Rockets ended their 100 balls on a total of 148 for 7.

Invincibles reply started off in typical Jason Roy fashion. The Surrey batter hit two successive scoop shots off Sam Cook before unleashing a glorious cover drive to set Invincibles on their way.

Roy(19) tried one shot to many when he holed out straight down Root’s throat at  Deep midwicket.

Tawanda Muyeye was dismissed first ball after flicking the ball around the corner where Ish   Sodhi stuck out a hand to get his mitts under the ball.

Sams then found a gap through bat and pad to bowl Sam Curran to find himself on a hat trick. Invincibles skipper Sam Billings avoided the hat trick ball, but Rockets were right back in this contest.

Will Jacks decided to counter punch with two sixes over cover and long off and with his partner at the crease Billings lifting Sodhi into the stands followed by an ever further hit, this time into the third tier, runs started to flow.

The stand had yielded 73 runs off 40 balls when Jacks(31) played on to Cook. Despite losing James Neesham(4) Tom Curran joined his captain in the middle, with the pair seeing Invincibles over the line with Billings hitting the winning runs with his fifth six of the night with the home side winners with eight balls to spare.