Short format cricket is regularly referred to as a batter’s game but an scarcely believable debut by Australian cricket team fast bowler Spencer Johnson is surely the most memorable performance of this year’s (or any year’s) Hundred so far. Johnson had never set foot in the UK until Monday when he arrived from Canada where he had been playing franchise cricket.
Johnson Brought In As A Late Replacement
After a spell in the USA playing in the inaugural Major League cricket series for Los Angeles Knight Riders, he was signed as a late replacement for the Oval Invincibles after Pakistan national cricket team quick bowler Ihsanullah withdrew his availability. It’s fair to say he didn’t suffer any jet lag as he returned the scarcely believable figures of 3 wickets for just 1 run in his 20 balls as the Manchester Originals had no answer to his pace and consistency. It’s been quite the whirlwind week for Johnson as on the day of his arrival in the UK he was called up to represent Australia for the first time for a T20I series in South Africa later this month.
Manchester Originals Bowl First
Neither captain was sure of what to do at the toss, but Originals captain Jos Buttler elected to bowl first, about his only success on a chastening evening for his team. Jason Roy and Will Jacks provided a solid platform, Jacks fell from 32 in just 13 balls but Henrich Klassen’s arrival at the crease didn’t slow things down. At one stage over 200 looked a likely score as Klassen powered half a dozen maximums into a big Oval crowd and Roy found the boundary with regularity. Klassen skied Josh Little to the hands of Phil Salt at deep mid wicket to exit for a brilliant 60 from 27 balls, Jamie Overton ended Jason Roy’s innings for 59 as his spell of 2 for 21 off his 20 balls helped restrict the Oval Invincibles to a still commanding 186 for 5.
Spencer Johnson Takes 3 Wickets
Originals probably felt that their late fightback had kept the game alive especially with batting up front such as Buttler, Salt and Aussie Ashton Turner providing middle order power. In reality they were never in the hunt. Johnson took the new ball and only conceded a leg bye from his first set of five balls. The originals just couldn’t get going, Salt looked badly out of form as he fell for 2 that ate up 11 deliveries. England cricket team batter Buttler showed the odd glimpse of what we know he’s capable of but by the time he was dismissed for by his standards a painstaking 23 off 24 balls the score was 44 for 4 with over half over the innings gone with the match already looking a lost cause. Sunil Narine took 3 for 12 off his twenty balls, on other nights those figures would grab the headlines but by the time Johnson bowled a remarkable ten ball set that returned 3 wickets for 0 runs the Originals were facing humiliation at 58 for 9. Jamie Overton added a little respectability adding to his good bowling performance with 37 from 21 balls, but when he was out the Invincables had recorded a 94 run victory which is the biggest winning margin in the short history of The Hundred cricket league.
The final word has to be for Spencer Johnson though, who announced himself with figures it’s hard to envisage ever being beaten; 20 balls, 1 run conceded, 3 wickets. Remarkable.