Unbeaten 71 off 28 lifts home side to competition’s first 200 total as Originals have a shocker in the field
Northern Superchargers 200 for 5 (Simpson 71*, Vilas 36) beat Manchester Originals 131 (Raine 3-15) by 69 runs
This was the first trans-Pennine derby in the men’s Hundred after the reverse fixture in Manchester was washed out, and Originals seemed completely overawed by the occasion, dropping four catches and misfielding countless times with the Western Terrace taking great pleasure in every error.
Steven Finn became the first man to concede 50 runs in a Hundred game, despite bowling only 15 balls of his allocation of 20, as Superchargers added 78 off the final 25 of their innings. Their batting performance was even more impressive on account of the fact they were missing two key men – Adam Lyth and Harry Brook – following positive Covid-19 tests.
The chase was a walkover: Originals needed a flying start but managed 40 for 2 from the first 30 balls, at which point David Willey threw the ball to Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Adil Rashid who squeezed the life out of the middle order. Carlos Brathwaite hit three sixes, top-scoring with 21, and Ben Raine mopped up at the death to finish with 3 for 15.
The result means Superchargers are still in with a sniff of qualifying for the knockout stages, with another must-win game against Birmingham Phoenix on Tuesday, while Originals will need to beat Trent Rockets and hope several other results fall in their favour.
Simpson did not look like an automatic pick in the Superchargers side at the start of the season, coming off a T20 Blast season in which he averaged 14.30 with a strike rate of 126.54 and with Tom Kohler-Cadmore provided an alternative option with the gloves.
But he has played three excellent innings in the Hundred already, taking Rashid Khan down against Trent Rockets, finishing the game against Oval Invincibles with a huge straight six, and now teeing off to underpin the highest total in the competition. After making his England ODI debut against Pakistan last month, he is having a memorable summer.
He was on 40 off 19 heading into the final 10 balls after a couple of fours off Lockie Ferguson, with his long-time Middlesex team-mate and close friend Finn in his sights. He pounded his first ball 90 metres over midwicket, then pulled four more away to bring up the joint-fastest fifty of the competition. At that point, Finn imploded, unsure whether to stick to his short-ball plan or try to land yorkers.
A half-volley disappeared through extra cover, a waist-high full toss was edged through third man, a leg-stump full-bunger was clipped away for four, and a top-edged pull was parried over the rope, as Finn’s set of five cost an eye-watering 29 runs.
There was an irony in Simpson’s success in what was billed as the Battle for the North. He was born in Lancashire, and put on 90 in 34 balls with Vilas, their club captain and a £125,000 signing for Originals in the initial draft in October 2019. As the partisan crowd chanted “Yorkshire, Yorkshire!”, you sensed it was lost on them.
It is hard to think of a sloppier performance in the field from a professional side than Originals’ effort in Leeds. Calvin Harrison took a superb catch, off-balance on the midwicket boundary, to dismiss Chris Lynn after consecutive early sixes, but a pair of drops during Carlos Brathwaite’s first set of five set the tone for a woeful evening.
Phil Salt was the first culprit, running back from behind the stumps and pulling rank on Matt Parkinson at short third man, only to take his eye off the ball and watch it spill over the rope off his gloves, before Parkinson, two balls later, let one straight through his hands at short fine leg off the left-handed Willey.
Those problems spread like a virus through the team, with countless misfields on the boundary through the middle phase of the innings. There were two more drops at the death: a slow over-rate had forced Tom Lammonby into the inner circle, and he could only parry a Simpson pull over the boundary running back over his shoulder, while the backpedalling Parkinson missed his opportunity to make amends at short fine leg.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98