The opening match of The Hundred got under way with a thriller where more than 250 runs were scored as Oval Invincibles were guided to victory over Manchester Originals by captain Dane van Niekerk.
The England and Wales Cricket Board revealed the original idea for this 100-ball tournament three years ago and finally it became a reality with 7,395 spectators in attendance at the Kia Oval.
While the format comes with plenty of new rules, some things remain the same and Van Niekerk’s half-century saw Invincibles chase down a target of 136 for victory by five wickets and with two balls to spare.
It capped a memorable evening in the capital with Marizanne Kapp, Van Niekerk’s wife, also claiming the honour of taking the first wicket, with her seventh legal delivery, having taken advantage of the chance to bowl 10 consecutive balls
Umpire Tim Robinson had made a surprise not-out call, but a review brought about the first wicket of The Hundred before the runs started to flow.
The visitors made 135 for six from their 100 balls with Kapp and Farrant claiming two scalps apiece, but the biggest cheer of the innings was afforded to a young girl in the crowd for a sterling rendition of Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See You Again’ over a presenter’s microphone.
Cross, fresh from 12 not out from four deliveries, quickly dashed hopes of a home win with two wickets in two balls at the start of the Invincibles innings after singer Becky Hill had entertained the crowd from the DJ stage.
It was Invincibles captain Van Niekerk who hit the winnings runs, a thick edge flying beyond the wicket-keeper to earn victory with an unbeaten 56 off 42 balls.