Words by Jamie Smith, ECB Hundred Rising Reporter
Jos Buttler and Andre Russell smashed scintillating half-centuries as Manchester Originals crushed reigning champions Southern Brave by 68 runs at the Ageas Bowl
Buttler hammered 68 off 42 balls and Russell flayed an unbeaten 64 off 23 as the Originals exploited Brave’s under-strength bowling attack to reach an imposing 188 for four.
Paul Walter then took three wickets to help bowl the Brave out for 120, giving the Originals their second win in three days.
Brave have claimed just one win in their opening five matches after a disappointing home defeat which all but ends their chances of defending their title.
Brave openers Quinton De Kock and James Vince shared a rapid 36 in 17 balls, before Sean Abbott snared Vince with a stunning one-handed return catch.
Marcus Stoinis didn’t last long in his final outing for the Brave, sweeping straight to square-leg off Tom Hartley.
Stubbs dismissed Davies and claimed the key wicket of De Kock three balls later to effectively end the Brave’s chances.
Russell continued his stellar all-round performance by dismissing the out-of-form Tim David and James Fuller went first ball to Walter as the Brave fell well short, despite Garton’s entertaining 25.
Matt Parkinson finished the game by getting Michael Hogan stumped as the Brave were bowled out with 16 balls to spare.
The Originals, with only one victory from their opening four matches, had earlier started slowly against the pace of George Garton and Michael Hogan.
But the match burst into life in Dan Moriarty’s first set on his Brave debut. Phil Salt smashed the Surrey spinner for two fours, either side of offering a tough chance to James Fuller.
Buttler was not to be outdone, audaciously scooping 41-year-old Hogan for four as the visitors reached an impressive 46 for no wicket at the end of the 25-ball Powerplay.
Just as in the women’s game earlier, spin proved harder to attack. Lintott’s first set went for just two and he suckered the dangerous Salt into picking out long-off with the first ball of his second spell.
Buttler quickly became the aggressor, hoisting Stoinis and Lintott for massive maximums.
The leading run-scorer in this year’s IPL reached a 32-ball half-century shortly after Wayne Madsen had been brilliantly run out by Stoinis’s pinpoint throw.
Fellow big-hitter Andre Russell soon joined in the carnage. The all-rounder deposited Fuller for six over mid-wicket before he and Buttler traded maximums off the unfortunate Garton in a barnstorming partnership of 51 off 25 deliveries.
Buttler’s dismissal by Hogan did little to stem the flow of runs for a depleted Brave attack badly missing the services of England stars Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills and Craig Overton.
Russell then went into overdrive as the Originals obliterated the previous best team score in the Men’s Hundred at the Ageas Bowl, recording the fourth-highest men’s score in the entire competition.
Garton’s drop off Russell summed up a tricky night in the field for the Brave before the West Indies star clubbed 24 off the final set to boost the Originals up to a total which always looked beyond the home side.
Southern Brave bowler Jake Lintott:
"That probably sums up our tournament, we have probably been a little bit off it in all departments which in a short format the minute you are a bit behind it you get hurt.
"We are really disappointed and it is a real tough one to take. We haven't been at our best and deserved to lose tonight.
"It is hard to look past two special innings. We were bowling at two of the world's best in Buttler and Russell and they played well. We could have bowled a little bit better but at the same time they have played good innings and got them to a score that is only chased like one in 50.
"I think we owe it to our support here to put in some really good performances and finish the tournament strong. It is really important we get some momentum into next year."
Manchester Originals batter Phil Salt:
"Batting first suits us best the way our line-up is structured. Our 'no fear' attitude we have taken on since losing the first few has allowed us to play with freedom. We are very pleased with the performance tonight.
"Sometimes in cricket, you don't get the rub of the green or someone on the other team has a day out and you have to pay respect to that and now our lads are having days out.
"When Dre Russ get going I don't think anyone hits the ball harder in the world. He is a great team-mate and we're happy he is on our side and not the opposition. And Jos is a very chilled and straightforward bloke."