Jason Roy thrilled the home crowd to inspire Oval Invincibles to a nine-run victory over top-of-the-table Trent Rockets in a rain-shortened men’s Hundred match.
Roy, who strode out to bat after an 80-minute delay because of a wet outfield, cracked an unbeaten 56 from just 29 balls, including four fours and four sixes.
The England batsman was the mainstay for the Invincibles, who posted 125-6 from their 65 balls.
Trent Rockets lost D’Arcy Short to the third ball of their chase but were able to take the game deeper than anyone expected, built on 25 from Alex Hales.
Needing 34 runs from the final 10 deliveries, Rashid Khan smashed 16 from six balls to give the Rockets hope, before he holed out off Tom Curran.
Rockets were only able to reach 116-8, much to the delight of a 19,000-strong crowd at The Oval.
The result takes Invincibles to second in the table, just one point behind Rockets.
Clips & analysis from Invincibles’ win over Rockets
Fewer deliveries, fewer problems for Roy
Losing 35 balls was no issue for Roy – he simply went out and swung hard from the first ball to register his highest score of the tournament so far.
He was all power, striking the dangerous Rashid’s first ball for a huge six, before dismantling Matt Carter with two sixes in two balls.
He was dropped on 17 by a sliding Rashid, a mistake which epitomised a mixed fielding effort from the Rockets.
Timm van der Gugten was guilty of a drop in the deep to reprieve Will Jacks but, by contrast, Lewis Gregory took a brilliant, one-handed diving effort to dismiss the dangerous Colin Ingram.
Rockets did well to take the game deep, with Rashid’s late hitting forcing Invincibles into a strategic timeout to talk with coach Tom Moody.
However, Sunil Narine’s excellence in taking 3-11 and Tom Curran’s composure in the final five balls kept Rockets at bay.
In a short game made even shorter, it was Invincibles who held their nerve in the key moments.
Rain frustrates fans & players
Rain ruining matches was a common thread on Sunday after the women’s Hundred match between Invincibles and Rockets was abandoned without a ball bowled.
The decision for a second pitch inspection to be held 45 minutes after the scheduled start time was greeted by loud boos from a sizeable Oval crowd.
Players were out warming up which may have left new fans scratching their heads – if they can play football and practice batting, why can’t the match start?
It was damp patches on the outfield and around the wicket that led to the delay, with play unable to start until umpires were satisfied that it was safe.
“You can understand why the crowd is so frustrated,” England and London Spirit captain Heather Knight said on Test Match Special.
“I know the outfield might be a little bit wet but it has had the opportunity to dry. The players look like they want to play.”
All-rounder Chris Green, who has played franchise cricket around the world, said the delay was “not a great look” but player safety was paramount.
“I have been part of a game in the Big Bash when we played through torrential rain,” he said.
“We were told there was a lot of people watching and had to play on but it did get to a point when it was dangerous.
“I feel for the crowd. A little bit of communication can clear it up.”