Manchester Originals 144 for 4 (Madsen 53*) beat Oval Invincibles 143 for 9 (Billings 53, Little 5-13) by six wickets
Both sides knew victory would see them qualify for the knockout stages and set up a Friday-night date with London Spirit at the Ageas Bowl for the right to face Trent Rockets in the final at Lord’s the following day.
“It was an amazing game of cricket,” Laurie Evans, Originals’ captain, said. “It’s what the Hundred was made for: close games with high-quality cricketers in it. We didn’t fire at times tonight but it great the way Wayne played, and then AT [Ashton Turner] at the end was fantastic.
“He [Walter] dived in the field and came on to bowl a ball later. He told me he felt concussed and then two balls later dislocated his shoulder. He said he was fine to bowl again and then dislocated it again, so fair play, credit to the bloke. He’s been the life and soul of this group, nominated social sec [secretary] early on and has been first-class on the field.”
Originals got off to a great start with the ball having lost the toss, taking three wickets inside the powerplay. They were brilliant in the field and the tone was set by Walter, who took a stunning diving catch in front of Old Trafford’s party stand to dismiss Rilee Rossouw for 17.
Little backed that up with a superb set, taking the wickets of Jordan Cox and Will Jacks to leave the Invincibles 23 for 3 before Billings and Sam Curran set about rebuilding patiently, taking the score to 64 for 3 at the halfway mark.
Curran then launched a huge six off Tristan Stubbs as Invincibles looked to push the rate, but fell for 24 to Tom Lammonby in the next set to end the blossoming partnership at 56. But Billings pushed on undeterred, smashing two sixes off Matt Parkinson’s second set and passing his fifty from 30 balls.
With 20 balls remaining, Invincibles were 115 for four but Originals finished strongly. Billings fell to a brilliant catch from Tom Hartley to give Little his third before two smart bits of work from wicketkeeper Phil Salt – running out Tom Curran and correctly reviewing an otherwise-undetected edge off a ducking Hilton Cartwright – kept Originals on top.
Little completed his superb five-wicket haul when Matt Milnes was caught for a duck and Gleeson struck in the final set to restrict Invincibles to 143.
Originals flew out of the traps, racing to 34 from just 16 balls before Laurie Evans fell for nine, hitting Peter Hatzoglou straight to midwicket.
They were 43 for one at the end of the powerplay, with Salt well set on 19. But three balls later the England batter attempted to hit Briggs over the ropes and only found Cox as Invincibles landed a big blow.
Madsen – who was reprieved by a review off his first ball – and Tristan Stubbs set about rebuilding, with a Stubbs six helping the hosts to 74 for 2 at halfway, needing another 70.
Stubbs picked out Sam Curran to hand Briggs a second, but Madsen looked in good touch as he brought up a 34-ball half-century to reduce the target to 33 from 20 balls.
Tom Curran’s tight set had Originals’ nerves building, before Turner hit his brother Sam for 14 from his five balls to seize control again.
But Curran went for just two from the penultimate set, with Turner also run out, to leave Originals needing 11 from five balls.
Walter mistimed Matt Milnes towards midwicket and looked set to be caught, but Will Jacks could only tip the ball over the rope for six. It proved the key moment as Walter struck the winning runs two balls later.