Will Smeed expressed his joy at becoming the first-ever centurion in the Hundred’s history, after his stunning 101 not out helped Birmingham Phoenix to a dominant 53-run victory over men’s champions Southern Brave at Edgbaston.
The 20-year-old struck his ton from just 50 balls to make him the owner of the highest individual total in the 100-ball format, eclipsing the 92 made by both Liam Livingstone and Jemimah Rodrigues last season.
“I never really felt like I was close to a hundred until right at the very end,” he said. “I knew they were going to bowl wide to me, and I just tried to hit the ball.
“I think my role is to just try and smack it at the top. I didn’t get off to a flier but I caught up and kept going from there.”
Smeed, who recently made his England Lions debut against South Africa, was keen to heap the praise onto his teammates.
“Everyone stuck their hand up today, everyone’s doing their job,” he said. “It felt like we were above par, it felt like if we bowled well and fielded well and stuck to our plans, we’d win the game, and we obviously saw that.
“The way we’re set up, we’re looking to play positive, so if a few people can come off every game then that should leave us in a good position. There’s a lot of belief in the group that everyone playing can do a job for the team.”
Will Smeed leaves the field of play unbeaten on 101•ECB/Getty Images
Seamer Henry Brookes took 5 for 20 on his Hundred debut, and player of match Smeed wasted no time in making sure his efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
“Brooksy bowled amazingly. I feel like I’ve stolen [the award] off Brooksy,” he chuckled. “He got five wickets and two catches, but it’s a team game at the end of the day and we’ve all contributed. He should get all the plaudits.”
The England prospect is now – quite understandably – looking forward to continuing his side’s momentum for the rest of the competition.
“It was nice to get going, obviously we didn’t lose a game here [at Edgbaston] last year so let’s keep that going,” he said. “We had a couple of training sessions and that sort of made me feel good again, so whether we’re playing or training I don’t really mind.”