Marchant De Lange praised the impact of The Hundred in its first year despite his Trent Rockets side bowing out of the competition due to a seven wicket loss in a winner-takes-all eliminator at The Oval against Southern Brave. 

A George Garton-inspired Brave side skittled Rockets for 96, and it proved not to be enough despite the best efforts of De Lange, who took the wicket of Quinton De Kock and Alex Davies and conceded just 16 runs from his 20 balls, as Brave cantered over the line with 32 deliveries to spare. 

“I personally think the competition has been a big success,” he reflected. 

“It is a great platform for the youngsters, and it is a good platform for English cricket. I really think it will go from strength to strength. 

“Personally, it is really nice to get different opinions, interact and talk about the game, you are never too old to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially with the Trent Rockets team, they are a great bunch of lads and we had great coaches.”

Having been inserted, three Dawid Malan fours in the opening blows energised the eager Oval crowd, before Garton’s fightback stunted the Rockets' flow. His first wicket came as Malan edged through to De Kock for 14 and, four balls later, the left-armer had Alex Hales dismissed in the same manner. 

A re-jigged batting order did little by way of slowing the collapse for the Rockets as a pumped Craig Overton rocked back Steven Mullaney’s stumps and Garton had the dangerous D’arcy Short caught tamely at mid-wicket by Tymal Mills for his third wicket with the score on 31. 

Samit Patel’s introduction brought about a semblance of control following the frenzied start, and, with Lewis Gregory for company, the Rockets looked to turn the tide. 

A squirted four through point and a slog-swept six behind square off Jake Lintott catalysed a slight shift in momentum, as the Nottingham-based side reached the halfway stage on 57, but Mills’ left-arm pace inflicted further damage soon after, as Gregory drove low to Paul Stirling at cover for 11, cueing the arrival of Nottinghamshire’s Tom Moores. 

The explosive left-hander roused the crowd with a stylish six over wid long-off, Lintott again the victim, and made it two in a row as Overton was pulled into the depths of the JM Finn stand’s first tier. 

The duo united for revenge, though, with the final ball of Overton’s five, as Lintott clung onto Patel’s punch to his left at mid-on to dismiss the all-rounder with the score on 82. 

Moores’ own fledgling 19-run Cameo was then ended by Mills when Overton caught impressively at long-on, popping his own catch in the air, only to reclaim as he stepped back in from the boundary’s edge, and the Rockets’ final three wickets added just nine runs as Brave wrapped up the innings with consecutive wickets from Chris Jordan and Mills.

“It is difficult, as soon as you lose wickets, to keep up momentum,” De Lange conceded.

“Especially in the short format, you are always under pressure if you face two or three balls and you haven’t scored runs. 

“We never kicked on, but it is part of the game. We didn't maximise the balls and on the day we weren’t good enough.”

Stirling’s scoop off Matt Carter’s first delivery set the tone for the Brave as the Irishman looked to play the aggressor. He did so with success, 14 from his first five balls faced attested to his dominance, albeit a slice of fortune fell his way as an inside edge raced to the fine-leg boundary.

His opening partner De Kock lacked the same luck, though, and could only top edge De Lange’s bouncer to Sam Cook at deep backward square leg for six. 

James Vince took a leaf from Stirling’s book, whacking 14 from a Rashid Khan set to sever the required rate, and leave his side requiring 47 from 75 deliveries at the end of the powerplay. 

As the local support enthusiastically indulged in a Mexican Wave, Brave continued in hot pursuit of their target, but they wouldn’t get there unscathed as Carter and De Lange gave the travelling support something to cheer - Stirling and Davies both caught, the former for 31 from 19 deliveries. 

They wouldn’t have to wait long for victory, though, as Vince guided a Sam Cook slower ball to the deep backwards point boundary to wrap up proceedings and end the Rockets’ hopes of a title win in the inaugural version of The Hundred. 

“I think it is obvious we didn’t get enough runs, but as a team we were going to try until the last ball,” De Lange concluded.

“That was our motto throughout the campaign, try and fight until the end and you just never know.”

“Today, unfortunately, we didn’t have a person to go through, but these games happen. We would have loved to go through to the Lord’s final, but maybe next year.”