Harry Brook’s fastest Hundred century in vain as Welsh Fire keep hopes burning
Harry Brook scored the quickest century in the history of the Hundred, but Welsh Fire defeated Northern Superchargers at Headingley by an eight-wicket margin, maintaining their chances of competing in Saturday’s eliminator.
Harry Brook scored his century off 41 balls and smashed a thunderous 105 not out off 42 but received little help as the Superchargers made 158 for 7. Fire got off to a good start thanks to Stephen Eskinazi fifty, but it took Jonny Bairstow’s 44 and Joe Clarke’s 42 to give the visitors the victory.
If Manchester Originals defeat Southern Brave on Wednesday, Fire will advance to the eliminator. In addition to ending Superchargers’ chances of placing in the top three, the outcome also eliminated Trent Rockets and London Spirit.
Brook led a Superchargers comeback with a spectacular solo hand. The Superchargers, who had won the toss and were batting at 10 for 3, were in trouble after Matthew Short, Tom Banton, and Adam Lyth all left the game inside the first 20 balls.
Alongside Adam Hose, Brook started out slowly before taking off once Hose was defeated by Matt Henry after 33 balls.
After receiving a fierce bouncer from Lockie Ferguson, he unleashed an incredible ramp over third for six and then blasted Roelof van der Merwe down the ground for another thunderous maximum.
Adil Rashid, who had been moved to No. 6, was bowled over by the left-arm spinner, and David Wiese was run out by Tom Abell, leaving the score at 92 for 7. Brook was running out of partners as a result. However, Brook persisted undoubtedly and reached 50 after only 24 balls before accelerating by smashing 19 from Luke Wells’ five-ball set.
The right-hander pounded Ferguson to the ground for a six that landed in the Sky Sports commentary pod by combining outrageous power with perfect timing.
After Will Smeed and Will Jacks, Brook became the third person to make a century when he reached 76 with 10 deliveries left in the innings. He smashed two more sixes and four fours on the way to his century, which came off the last 10 deliveries.
Eskinazi quickly got to work on reversing the momentum that was in favor of the hosts. Reece Topley’s second set provided the right-hander with two sixes, and Topley and Matthew Potts both missed high catches to one another, giving the right-hander a life.
Eskinazi capitalized on his reprieve by crashing his way to 50 from just 19 balls, including three sixes, and Fire was well-positioned on 66 without loss after 40 balls.
Rashid’s entry put a stop to things, especially for Bairstow, who had only eight from his first 18 balls. When Fire needed 82 more runs to win, Rashid made the crucial breakthrough by bowling Eskinazi for 58 with a googly on the 51st delivery.
Just before Callum Parkinson’s 10-ball session came to an unfortunate conclusion with a six off Bairstow followed by a no-ball that cost four runs, Bairstow started to find his rhythm as he and new batter Clarke both hit sixes off Wiese.
Fire were on their way to victory, needing just 19 from 20 balls, when Brook made another outstanding boundary catch to dismiss Bairstow for 44. Brook avoided carrying the ball over the rope by looping it up first to himself and then to Hose. But Clarke led his team to victory, hitting 42 out of 22 to maintain Fire’s hopes.