Cricket

The Hundred: David Willey masterclass sees Northern Superchargers defeat London Spirit

The Hundred: David Willey puts on masterclass to guide Northern Superchargers to victory over London Spirit by 63 runs and fire warning shot to Eoin Morgan

  • Tuesday night was the Willey show against London Spirit’s Eoin Morgan 
  • Leg-spin pairing Adil Rashid and Mujeeb Ur Rahman also provided firepower 
  • The defeat leaves Spirit as the only men’s side in the competition yet to win

Redemption takes patience; it takes nerve, and a dose of luck, too. David Willey was left heartbroken two years ago when he agonisingly missed the cut for England’s triumphant ODI World Cup squad.

Heck, the Northern Superchargers all-rounder has been on the fringes of the national side’s plan in the past year; in and out of both the ODI and Twenty20 sides. Such treatment would test the resolve of the most strong-willed.

But Tuesday night was the Willey show against London Spirit’s Eoin Morgan, and a reminder to his England captain not to make the same decision twice ahead of the T20 World Cup in October. The 31-year-old smashed 81 and chipped in with two wickets to hammer the Northern Superchargers by 63 runs.

Tuesday night was the Willey show against London Spirit’s Eoin Morgan at Lord's

Tuesday night was the Willey show against London Spirit’s Eoin Morgan at Lord’s

Leg-spin pairing Adil Rashid and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were also key to the Northern side’s blueprint. Rashid dismissed his colleague Morgan, and Ur Rahman produced a masterclass in spin bowling as he went for just six runs in 20 balls. That’s an economy of just 1.50 per five.

But it was Willey who stole the plaudits as he produced as fine a white-ball display one could produce and succumbed Morgan to four losses in five matches — the outlier contest having been rained off.

It leaves Spirit as the only men’s side in the competition yet to win — an embarrassing statistic which leaves a stain and a pending inquest. Hopes for reaching the eliminator match are already all but over.

Willey holds aloft his Match Hero award during The Hundred match at Lord's

Willey holds aloft his Match Hero award during The Hundred match at Lord’s

Spirit came into the fixture low in confidence but aware that a win was a must to salvage hopes about progressing to the next stage.

Captain Morgan lost the toss and was set to bowl first. He loves a bit of spin in the field at the Home of Cricket — a tactic which saw his side’s slower bowlers snaffle all four wickets against Trent Rockets last week — and he continued in that vein, with both off-spin and leg-spin solely used in the first 20 balls.

Roelof van der Merwe was taken off immediately after leaking boundaries, but Mohammad Nabi dismissed Chris Lynn and kept the run rate down.

Though spin on Tuesday night did not in sum have the desired effect as the Superchargers batting line-up came down south to run riot.

Pair Willey and Harry Brook set their side’s stall out in the first half of the innings to solidify a partnership of 66.

Brook’s mammoth 94metre six into the top tier of the member’s pavilion left punters diving for cover and typified the intent.

One could feel sorry for Morgan in the field as he depicted a picture of worry in chopping and changing his bowlers in hope of stemming the run flow.

The Englishman spoke to the media after guiding his side to victory over London Spirit

The Englishman spoke to the media after guiding his side to victory over London Spirit

Leg-spinner Mason Crane removed Brooks through a top edge, but Willey at the other end was applying the long handle to spray the ball to both sides of the wicket. His six to bring up 50 just about stayed inside the ground.

An awful final five from Mohammad Amir saw Willey smote 15 to reach 81. It amounted to bullying on the cricket field and pushed his side to 155.

He’s not a bad bowler either is Willey, and he opened the attack to dismiss the big-hitting Adam Rossington and Josh Inglis within the first 10 balls.

After Ben Raine dismissed Luis Reece for 20, Morgan’s task in the middle became increasingly daunting.

Eoin Morgan's London Spirit are now the only men's team in The Hundred yet to taste victory

Eoin Morgan’s London Spirit are now the only men’s team in The Hundred yet to taste victory

Ever the leader, he tried to pick up the mantelpiece and flashed a couple of boundaries to raise scant hopes. 

It wasn’t to last as England colleague Rashid had him caught on the rope and at 93 for six, the task was slipping away.

The wickets kept tumbling as the spin duo of Rashid and Ur Rahman had ripped the middle order away, and they shared four wickets.

Raine chipped in with three wickets too as the home side were dead and buried at home with just one wicket remaining. A one-sided thrashing indeed.


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