Nathan Ellis has bowled London Spirit to a capital derby victory over Oval Invincibles with an impressive opening burst and spell at the death in their Hundred match.
The 27-year-old Australian dismissed English hitter Jason Roy with his first ball and followed up by having the dangerous Sam Billings caught to be 2-8 off his first 10 balls on Thursday.
Returning at the end, Ellis bowled Jordan Cox (39 off 30) as the Invincibles almost chased down an improbable victory in front of a full house 27,000 at The Oval.
Set 172 to win they ended on 7-168, losing by three runs. Ellis finished with 3-28 off his 20 balls.
His excellent start to England’s 100-ball tournament followed a superb finish to the other domestic short-format competition when Ellis bowled Hampshire Hawks to victory with a last-ball wicket on T20 Blast Finals Day.
That followed his breakthrough at international level with debuts for Australia’s T20 and ODI team since August 2021.
Ellis, who was made Match Hero, said: “It’s happened really quickly for me the last 18 months. I’m just trying to soak it all up and be a bit of a sponge being around some of the best players in the world.
“I’m appreciating it and taking each day as it comes.”
The Australian white-ball international also caught Will Jacks, and with Glenn Maxwell catching Sam Curran the Invincibles were 4-12 and seemingly already out of the hunt to overhaul Spirit’s 6-171.
However, with hitters teeing off all down the order the Invincibles came close enough to worry the Spirit, Sunil Narine failing to hit the four required for a draw off the last ball.
The only mishap for the Australian pair came when they failed to combine on the boundary to catch a big hit from Hilton Cartwright. Ellis caught the ball but was unable to transfer it to the waiting Maxwell before going over the boundary rope.
But Cartwright, who had begun to cut loose, edged behind next ball and was dismissed for 42 off 23.
Maxwell, who wasn’t required to bowl, made 18 in the Spirit’s innings, the highlight of which was a hard-hitting 47 off 29 balls by Eoin Morgan, playing his first match since stepping down as England’s white-ball skipper in June.
Spirit were to be coached by Shane Warne but after his untimely death fellow Australian Trevor Bayliss, the architect of England’s ODI World Cup success, stepped in.