Gregory leads Rockets to Hundred glory

·3-min read

Trent Rockets captain Lewis Gregory has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a match-winning cameo against Manchester Originals, sealing a tense men's Hundred final in dramatic fashion.

On a sluggish, low-scoring Lord's pitch that allowed ball to dominate bat in a manner that would have had the England and Wales Cricket Board's marketing department in a cold sweat, Gregory conjured a box office finish for the showcase.

Chasing what had looked a slender target of 121, Gregory faced up with the score at 8-110 and needing 11 to win from the final set of five from Richard Gleeson.

He launched the first of those riotously over mid-wicket for six - just the fourth maximum of the day, in a format designed to encourage big hitters - before flicking the subsequent full toss for four to effectively settle matters in the Nottingham side's favour.

Gregory lashed the next ball through the covers before leaping into the air, finishing up a two-wicket win with two balls to spare.

Originals coach Simon Katich refused to blame the sluggish surface for his side's defeat, but did suggest that scheduling the eliminator play-off just 24 hours before the final may have been a deciding factor.

His side needed to defeat London Spirit at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Friday to earn their shot at the group stage leaders and Katich felt that the demands of a tight schedule may have stretched his men too thin.

"Credit to Trent Rockets, they were the standout team in the comp and we certainly gave them a great run for their money," the Australian said.

"Don't get me wrong, this is a great competition and for the last two years I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

"But tonight it just looked like we were a bit tired in our decision-making, which was totally understandable given our great win last night.

"You get in at 1am, 1.30am and it's tough to get to sleep because the adrenaline is buzzing up, then you have to back up again. We gave ourselves a shot but it's something that probably has to be looked at."

In a match that saw a top score of 26 and included 74 dot balls, Gregory's 17 not out from six deliveries was a game-changer of a knock when the pressure was peaking. The Rockets' Sam Cook, who claimed 4-18, was the pick of the bowlers in helpful conditions.

On the occasion of his 35th birthday, the tournament's leading run-scorer Dawid Malan seemed intent on making it a double celebration but was out for 19.

Colin Munro (16) showed he had the muscle to end things in a hurry, launching a six and two fours, but could not match it with durability and holed out with 53 still needed.

The Originals kicked their innings of 9-120 off with a hapless powerplay, a couple of quick-fire boundaries from Salt proving a red herring as they meandered towards a score of 3-23.

Perth Scorchers captain Ashton Turner (26) and Tristan Stubbs (18) began to make a fist of it.

Their 35-run stand was just beginning to find its legs when Samit Patel (3-23) swiped them.

He found himself on a hat-trick when Stubbs top-edged across the line and picked up Paul Walter for a golden duck.

He was unable to make it three in three but circled back for Turner, whose fluent knock was cut short courtesy of a slog sweep that came up short.