Jason Roy cracked his best Hundred score as Oval Invincibles put themselves back on track for the knockout stage in a 65-ball bonanza victory over Trent Rockets.
England star Roy whacked an unbeaten 56 in 29 balls as Invincibles scored an impressive 125 in their reduced allocation.
The Rockets’ chase faltered from the off as Sunil Narine claimed a wicket with the third ball to eventually take three for 11 to set up a nine-run win at the Kia Oval.
Invincibles, unbeaten at home, leapt up the table from sixth to second, just a point behind the Rockets.
“When we turned up it was damp conditions so we were prepared for a reduced game. 65 balls and it went to the wire so it could have gone either way. I’m just frustrated to be on the wrong side of the result,” said Rockets debutant Sam Cook.
“It is a tough ground to bowl at with the short boundary so I would have taken those figures at the start of the day. This winter I’ve spent a large amount of time looking after my white ball skills. I’ve worked really hard to develop my skills and it is nice to see my hard work pay off with performances like this.
“I think Alex Hales is still rolling around in the changing. To get one in that area is bad enough but to get two in a row is tough. He’s talking to us with a high voice!
“We have played some unbelievable cricket in this competition so far and in this format you can end up on either side of the result so we aren’t fazed but this result and won’t change our brand of cricket.”
Rockets won the toss and quickly chose to bowl first as the 19,382 inside the Kia Oval turned from ire to frenzied excitement when the action started, helped by Jason Roy and Will Jacks powering Rashid Khan for sixes in the second five.
Rockets needed three attempts to take the first Invincibles wicket; Timm van der Gugten put down Jacks after a long hang time and Rashid shelled Roy before Dawid Malan finally held onto one at long-on to see of Jacks.
Narine chipped back to Matt Carter, Colin Ingram dealt with a full toss but was brilliantly pouched by Lewis Gregory while chasing wide outside off stump and Sam Billings was stumped of Samit Patel – who returned two for 21.
Roy went doolally by flinging Carter twice into the Peter May Stand while at the other end Alex Blake was bowled and Tom Curran deposited Rashid over the short boundary.
Curran sliced a catch up to third man to hand debutant Sam Cook his maiden Hundred wicket – his 10 balls miraculously only going for 10 runs.
Roy brought up his 27-ball fifty with a sweep four, his innings seeing four sixes and four fours, amid Laurie Evans closing out the 65 with a maximum over long-on.
Rockets hesitated at the imposing response – only reaching 116.
D’Arcy Short swept straight to fine leg for a three-ball duck but Hales got the chase going with a pair of tracer bullet-esque cut shots, before getting struck in the unmentionables twice in consecutive balls.
Malan picked out deep midwicket, Narine bowled Hales and found Tom Moores skying straight down the ground before Samit Patel cut to point and Steven Mullaney holed out to the leg side boundary.
Rashid and Gregory took the game deep but couldn’t get the required 17 off the last five – with Rashid caught and Carter run out.