It was a night where a superstar of the short-form game Andre Russell was overshadowed by a player of the future – England, Yorkshire and Northern Superchargers’ Harry Brook.
The stage was set: a northern derby on opposition territory, in front of a packed Old Trafford crowd… and 23-year-old Brook delivered – smashing 33 not out from just 19 balls to lead the Superchargers to victory and reaffirm his status as one of England’s brightest cricketing talents.
Chasing Manchester Originals’ total of 162, Adam Lyth set the platform with 51, captain David Willey added 29 but Brook soaked up the pressure and brought it home.
Brook looked completely at ease. He barely broke a sweat, smashing spinner Tom Hartley for two huge sixes to swing the game in his side’s favour and ease them to victory with six balls to spare.
“He reminds me of AB de Villiers,” enthused his team-mate Faf du Plessis, who played most of his international career alongside the legendary white-ball batter who still holds the record for the fastest one-day international century of all time, off 31 balls.
“He hits 360, all around the ground,” said Originals women’s player Phoebe Graham. “People like Kevin Pietersen said he was a world-class talent and we are seeing that quality now.”
And while he may be an England star of the future, Brook did confess at the end of the game that his grandma still washes his cricket kit.
“If she ever says she doesn’t like doing it, she’s lying!” said Brook, fresh from leading his team to victory.
To steal the match-winning heroics from arguably the world’s greatest Twenty20 cricketer in Andre Russell is no mean feat, either.
Match-winning runs? Tick (almost!). Diving catch to dismiss the opposition’s gun player? Tick. The wicket of Lyth on 51? Tick.
Russell does it all.
At 6ft 1in tall, stacked with power and with the swagger of a Mohican haircut and a nose ring, it just feels like the man known as ‘Dre Russ’ was made for The Hundred.
The Jamaican has played more than 400 games of T20 cricket all around the world, and he proved his worth in front of a packed Old Trafford – and yet somehow ended up on the losing side.
The Originals had started pretty well, with England white-ball captain Jos Buttler smashing 59. And if there’s a player you want coming to the crease with 40 balls left, it is Russell.
But England spinner Adil Rashid and Russell’s West Indies teammate Dwayne Bravo seized back some control for Northern Superchargers with some skilful bowling, and it looked like the Originals were going to squander their solid start.
Naturally, Dre Russ had other ideas.
There was a 102-metre six into the stands, one sent over the bowler’s head and he even had the audacity to hit another with one hand off the bat.
He then provided some comedy from the final ball of the innings, bowled by his mate Bravo. He attempted one final act of glory but instead fell with an anticlimactic belly flop onto the ground, the ball eventually dropped on the boundary and just a single run scored.
England bowler Saqib Mahmood namechecked the Superchargers as the “team to beat” in the tournament.
Teams will certainly have a battle on their hands to get past Brook and his men – but writing off any team with Russell in is a dangerous game.
Brook will miss the next two games while on England Lions duty, but it will not be the last we see of the two this summer.