Eoin Morgan said London Spirit’s nail-biting victory over Oval Invincibles was “as close to an international match” as he has ever played in domestic English cricket.
Morgan’s men defeated their London rivals by three runs on a packed Kia Oval on Thursday night, with Invincibles finishing in 168 of their 100 balls in response to Spirit’s tally of 171.
Invincibles rallied 12-4 after 17 deliveries and needed just nine of the last three, only to Spirit sailor Jordan Thompson who gave up just five more runs from that point in an exciting final.
Talk to . afterwards air sportsFormer England white-ball captain Morgan said: “It felt as close to an international match as I’ve ever felt in the domestic arena anywhere but India.
“India has the IPL and you have the thrill, the pressure of being a foreign player and having to perform differently, you get dropped. But here it was so close to international cricket.
“Thompson is subjected to that kind of pressure – it’s great for English cricket to play in these conditions and have a full house.
“I love playing in games like that. You learn more about how good your guys and the opponent are at handling pressure.
“Anyone can bowl Yorkers or hit sixes in the park without pressure, but in moments like this you see who can stand up.”
‘A hundred gives domestic players opportunities’
A Spirit win looked nailed with Invincibles needing 48 of the last 15 balls but Danny Briggs (29no out of 11) and Sunil Narine (9no) ensured there would be a stormy finish in South London.
Kevin Pietersen, who commented for Sky Sports, said: “It was as animated as I’ve been in a comment booth in a long time.
“It’s a unique atmosphere and young people were able to perform on that stage. That’s when you see the real merit of a player. These tournaments provide opportunities for domestic players.
“It’s as good as you can get to the highest form of the game. It bridges the gap. If you perform on this podium, you can make it up [in international cricket].”
Spirit was coached by Shane Warne last season and the Australian great would return this season before his death at the age of 52 in March.
Pietersen says Warne would have enjoyed a game as exciting as Spirit vs Invincibles and hopes Morgan’s team can run this campaign strongly in tribute to the legendary leg spinner.
Pietersen added: “Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. Rajasthan Royals almost took home the IPL trophy for him this season.
“It’s sad that the big man isn’t there to see this. Spirit played in his mind with cool, calm Morgan who sealed the deal under pressure in front of a spectacular crowd. The King would have loved to have been there.”
Watch more action from The Hundred on Friday when Manchester Originals welcome Northern Superchargers to Emirates Old Trafford. The build-up starts at 6pm on Sky Sports The Hundred with the first ball at 6:30pm.
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