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Only one window away

Only one window away

Southern Brave’s James Vince lifts the trophy after winning the Men’s The Hundred Final in Lourdes

James Vince had always suspected that Southern Brave would be able to withstand a string of roles from Liam Livingstone as they became The Hundred’s first male champions after defeating Birmingham Phoenix in the final.

The inaugural edition of the 100-ball competition unfolded with excitement as Paul Stirling pushed 61 strong deliveries out of 36, allied with Ross-Whiteley 44 out of just 19, the Braves to 168 for five in the crowded Lords.

Livingston was the obvious danger in the chase that led Phoenix to the final with 92 steps on 40 balls earlier this week, when last month he scored the fastest international century by the English batsman.

He threatened to play the decisive hand here as well, crushing four sixes and fours in a captivating ball from 46 to 19, but his wrinkle back in the second round after Tim David’s throw from the cap.

Splitting 55 balls of 25 alongside Muin Ali, who made 36 of 30 before later retiring, Livingston’s eventual downfall was the game-defining moment as Phoenix ran out of steam to finish with 136 for five.

Brave captain Vince said: “It helped that we play second and have points on the board because we knew Liam and Mo had to hold out for a long time.

“As with Hossam, we always felt like we were only one window away. They had to keep going until we got the chances. Then the partnership collapsed in an unusual way with much commissioning.

“Sterlo has gone unnoticed since he got in, but even though he’s 20, that means we’ve gotten a little bit energetic. So it was great to see him turn 60.

Despite his disappointment with the loss, Phoenix captain Moyen accepted his side to finish second as he enjoyed the Livingston cameo, praising the Cumbrian as one of the best white ball hitters in the world at the moment.

In fact, Moen believes Livingston has a role to play for England at the 20th World Cup later this year, should he be selected.

“I thought the best team would win, I thought in the three assets they were better than us,” Moin said. “We didn’t have a long way to go, they captured some great moments, and Livi’s lack of it was great.

“His confidence is only increasing and I think his way of playing is on par with the best players in the world now.

“I know it’s national cricket and he has done it for England too now, he has become more consistent and I think he will win a lot of matches with England in the future. At the World Cup, I’m sure there will be.

Another player who has been linked with the England squad at the World Championships in the UAE is Timal Mills, mentioned by captain Ewen Morgan earlier this summer.

And according to Vince, the skillful changes in speed of the left crimper arm are a boon for any captain, especially with Jofra Archer set to miss at least the rest of the year due to injury.

“Hopefully, I think he deserves it,” Vince said when asked about Mills’ chances of securing a place in England’s T20 World Cup squad.

“In my opinion, it would make sense if Jofra was not available, someone who could play 90 mph and have the transformations that he has.

“The precision he has with her makes dealing with him very difficult. He was very reliable. We hope he gets the green light.