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The Hundred 2023 Men's review: Invincibles live up their name in Hundred heroics

Oval Invincibles lived up their name by topping the table and then beating Manchester Originals in the final at Lord's to secure their first men's Hundred title.

The Invincibles and Originals laid on a thrilling final which the London side won by 14 runs to round off a third successful campaign of the newest tournament in the domestic calendar.

Certainly the crowds came out to see some of the best players in the game over 27 days of intense competition, four weeks in which fans were treated to hat-tricks, record-breaking bowling and batting feats and a third new name going on the trophy.

Game's stars lay on a post-Ashes feast

The Men's Hundred knew it had to deliver in 2023, the third edition of the 100-ball innovation having been granted a clear window through the height of summer straight after the conclusion of one of the greatest Ashes' Test series in living memory.

And while there will always be critics, the general consensus is that this summer's bash-fest was a good one, with big crowds, decent TV viewing figures and Jos Buttler, England's white-ball captain, claiming it has not only cemented its place in the calendar but will soon be rivalling the IPL in its capacity to launch the careers of new, young stars.

The famed English weather tried its best to put a dampener on things but amid the showers and storms there were only four wash-outs.

A high-class finals weekend capped the campaign and it looks pretty clear, with the ECB unwavering in its support for the competition which is a cornerstone of their broadcast deal with Sky which runs to 2028, that the tournament is going nowhere.

Rockets fail to ignite in defence of title

The eight teams who competed in the 2022 Men's Hundred returned for the 2023 edition with Trent Rockets the defending champions.

And after winning their opener – a six-run success over the 2021 winners, Southern Brave – Lewis Gregory's men would have been optimistic of a decent defence. In fact, it never really happened for the Trent Bridge-based franchise, who would go on to win just two more matches to finish fifth in the table.

Their three wins were one more than Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit or Northern Superchargers managed while Welsh Fire's two late wins were just too late to squeeze them into the finals, Tom Abell's men missing out on net run rate. 

Brook's fireworks among 2023 highlights 

The 32 league matches had certainly produced their moments to delight the new, younger audience.

There was a record win for Oval Invincibles against Manchester Originals in what turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the final, the fireworks at The Oval upstaged by the batting pyrotechnics of Heinrich Klaasen who thrashed 60 from 27 balls including six sixes in an amazing 94-run success for the hosts.

Southern Brave's Tymal Mills completely upstaged Ashes' hero Jonny Bairstow's return to the Welsh Fire by producing the competition's second hat-trick in a nine-wicket romp for the Hampshire boys.

Calvin Harrison took a tournament-best five-for-11 off his 20 balls in a comprehensive win for Manchester over the Superchargers, and of course there was that unforgettable 42-ball 105 not out from England superstar Harry Brook, a defiant ton in a losing cause for the Superchargers against Welsh Fire. 

Record-breaking Curran guides Oval to famous win 

Those highlights and much more besides all led to Oval Invincibles topping the table and going straight through to Sunday's final at Lord's, to await the winner of the eliminator between Southern Braves and Manchester. And those two laid on an absolute belter at The Oval.

Between them they piled up 397 runs – a record aggregate for a Hundred game – with the Originals successfully surpassing the Braves' 196-1. That was also the highest chase in the short history of the competition.

Twenty-four hours later and maybe the Originals had run out of puff, but they couldn't reproduce anything like those fireworks against the Invincibles in the final.

Jos Buttler's side started well enough, reducing the Oval franchise to 34-5. But Jimmy Neesham (57 not out) and Tom Curran (67 not out) paired up to wallop a record partnership of 127 to guide the Londoners to 161-5.

They would have been wary that might not have been enough given what Manchester did the previous evening but the northerners were never allowed to get away, eventually finishing on 147-6 to miss out on the trophy by 14 runs.

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