Will Jacks hit the highest individual score of The Hundred campaign so far this summer as his 81 steered the Oval Invincibles to a 39-run win over the Welsh Fire at Sophia Gardens.
Jacks batted from the first to the 99th ball to notch the joint second highest score of all-time in the Men’s Hundred to join Colin Ingram and David Willey just behind Liam Livingstone’s current record high of 92.
His late burst of sixes pushed the Invincibles to 158 for five and enabled them to put their London derby defeat last weekend behind them as they picked up their first win and condemned the Fire to a second successive defeat.
Having won the toss, the Fire sent in the Invincibles and quickly added to the pain currently being felt by England star Jason Roy by sending him packing for a mere 10 runs off as many balls.
If that was an improvement on his golden duck in the opening round of The Hundred against London Spirit, he showed his frustration at tickling the ball to short fine leg by tossing his bat in the air as he walked back to the pavilion.
The pace attack of David Payne, Jake Ball and George Scrimshaw bowled tidily enough on a tricky wicket to initially restrict the run rate. Given they only took one wicket in their heavy defeat against the reigning champions, Southern Brave, in their opening game, it didn’t take them long to improve on that.
Scrimshaw returned the favour to Payne, who caught Roy, by catching the dangerous Rilee Rossouw at short third and all of a sudden it was 22 for two with two key batters back in the hutch.
Sam Billings steadied the ship alongside anchorman Jacks until he left two balls after being struck in the nether regions and taking a very necessary injury break. His departure, lbw to Ryan Higgins, made it 51 for three from 41 balls and put even more responsibility on the shoulders of Jacks.
The opener, Surrey’s top scorer in the Blast, steered the side to 57 for three at the halfway mark, reached his half-century with a cracking four through extra cover off Payne and then went on the rampage with a series of boundaries.
His 50 came up in 36 balls and he added a further 31 off his next nine deliveries before holing out on the boundary off the penultimate ball of the innings. A four off the last ball by Tom Curran meant the Invincibles had set a reasonable target of 159 to win.
Joe Clarke and Tom Banton gave the home side a good start with the former punishing spinner Danny Briggs with successive sixes in his opening over. Clarke would go on to top score with 37 as he enjoyed stands of 46 with Banton and then 26 with Ben Duckett.
But, once he was caught in the deep aiming for another boundary off Curran, the writing was on the wall for the Fire. They had only made 107 off 100 balls against the Brave and were eventually held to 119 for six as Sam and Tom Curran put on the squeeze, conceding only 24 runs and 14 runs, respectively, from their 20 balls each.
Sunil Narine chipped in with three wickets as he conceded 21 runs off 20 balls.