Captain Sam Billings led by example on Thursday as the Oval Invincibles beat the Manchester Originals in the opening match of the men’s The Hundred (Invincibles 9/2 Outright).

The two teams played out an entertaining contest at The Oval, with the men’s opening match going right down to the wire.

The Invincibles opened the batting, and Jason Roy managed to score a quick-fire 20 before being caught after smashing four fours.

Sam Curran (6), Sunil Narine (2) and Will Jacks (15) failed to find their rhythm, but Billings steered his side to a competitive total after scoring 49 runs from just 30 balls.

Colin Ingram’s 17 and Tom Curran’s 29 helped pushed the Invincibles up to 145-8 from their 100 balls, before a magnificent bowling display helped them to record an opening win.

The Originals got off to a slow start, but Carlos Braithwaite’s 37 runs from 29 balls gave them a fighting chance. However, with 19 needed from the last five balls, he was caught, and they fell nine runs short of the target.

Sam Curran and Nathan Sowter picked up two wickets each, and Billings says it was a fantastic experience as they kicked off the men’s tournament in style.

He told Sky Sports: “It was great to get a win and follow the ladies’ example. The support was phenomenal; they are usually very partisan at The Oval!

“The pitch was a bit slow. Spin played a huge part throughout the game. The surface is what we expected, but it was about adapting and getting a score on the board, and thankfully we got enough.”

Friday’s match sees Birmingham Phoenix face London Spirit at Edgbaston (Phoenix Evens, Spirit 4/5 – Match Betting).

At the top of the order, the Phoenix have the in-form Liam Livingstone, Finn Allen and Moeen Ali. They are equally as dangerous, though, with the ball in hand, with Imran Tahir spearheading their attack, while he is supported by Pat Brown, Dillon Pennington and Adam Milne.

Birmingham (7/1 Outright) have had their fair share of injuries to contend with, with Chris Woakes and Adam Hose both ruled out.

London Spirit have selection issues of their own, with Zak Crawley, Dan Lawrence and Mark Wood all expected to leave after two games for England duty, meaning coach Shane Warne may decide to play without them.

England’s Eoin Morgan is amongst their ranks, though, and they will hope he can find his form with the bat.

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