Former England captain Eoin Morgan made a comeback as London Spirit took out the Oval Invisibles in a spectacular derby at The Hundred.
Morgan, who retired from international cricket last month, scored 47 off 29 balls to power London Spirit to 171-5.
The Oval Invincibles suffered a heavy defeat as they went down to 12-4 but some exceptional hitting from the lower order kept the game alive.
Hilton Cartwright made 42 off 23 balls, Tom Curran 27 off 15 balls and Danny Briggs 29 off 11 balls as the event’s preliminary London derby went to the penultimate ball.
The Oval Invincibles were looking for a surprise win or a 4 tie with the most runs in the final ball, but Sunil Narine didn’t go for the London Spirit as he conceded three runs.
The London Spirit finished behind The Hundred last summer – certainly one of their seven successful matches – but have started for the 2022 edition at the expense of local rivals The Oval Invincibles.
Invincible finished his fourth finals year, missing out on a spot in the eliminators, but will look to improve if he continues to challenge for the title next month.
London Spirit got off to a quick start to their innings after getting involved, with Adam Rossington hitting two sixes and Jack Crawley managing to play some snaps after his latest red-ball clash.
Pakistani bowler Mohammad Hasnain dismissed both the spirited openers and the visitors feared a stalemate when Narine caught the dangerous Glenn Maxwell in the deep.
Morgan and Dan Lawrence ensured the unbeaten streak was short-lived as they shared a 72-run stand to take the rating from 55-3 to 127-3.
England’s 2019 World Cup-winning captain Morgan was stunned in his last two global innings but managed to rediscover his form against a formidable Oval bowling attack that hit 5 fours and three sixes.
Morgan fell with 12 balls to spare but a hit from West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard put London Spirit on the ropes twice to their highest century.
Narine and Reece Topley impressed with the ball for the Oval, claiming figures of 2-25 and 2-26 respectively, although the visitors seemed to have the advantage in the middle stages.
A star-studded Invincibles lineup was able to drop runs, but trailed 20-4 on the powerplay to end the chase.
Struggling England opener Jason Roy was dismissed for a first-ball wicket by Nathan Ellis and the Australians overseas also had unbeaten Oval skipper Sam Billings caught in the cowl.
In Ellis’s brace, Yorkshire pacer Jordan Thompson scalped country stars Sam Curran and Will Jack to dampen the spirits of the home crowd.
The underdogs fought back through Cartwright, who hit two sixes in his 23-ball 42, and Jordan Cox, who scored a fluent 39, and Curran and Briggs continued the attack as the hosts pulled off a remarkable win.
Thompson defends 17 off the last 5 balls to make London Spirit still look heavy favourites, but boundaries at both ends keep the chase firmly alive.
A last-ball six took Thompson to 5 for victory when he strayed into the leg-side, although he and his London Spirit team-mates were relieved that Narine failed to produce fireworks off the final ball as the home side collapsed. leading to depression.
London Spirit will look to make it two wins out of two when they welcome Manchester Originals to Lord’s on Monday, while The Oval Invincibles can get their first win against Welsh Fire on Sunday.