WILTSHIRE’S James Vince always suspected Southern Brave would be able to withstand a whirlwind innings from Liam Livingstone as they became the first men’s champions in The Hundred after defeating Birmingham Phoenix in the final last weekend.

The inaugural edition of the 100-ball competition went out with a thriller as Paul Stirling’s aggressive 61 from 36 deliveries allied to Ross Whiteley’s 44 off only 19 propelled the Brave to 168 for five at a packed-out Lord’s.

Livingstone was the obvious danger in the chase having ushered the Phoenix into the final with 92 not out from 40 balls earlier this week, while last month he registered the fastest international century by an England batsman.

He threatened to play the decisive hand here as well, crashing four sixes and as many fours in a captivating 19-ball 46, only to be short of his crease coming back for a second run following Tim David’s throw from the boundary.

Having shared 55 in 25 balls alongside Moeen Ali, who made 36 off 30 before holing out later on, Livingstone’s downfall was ultimately the game’s defining moment as the Phoenix ran out of steam to finish on 136 for five.

Brave captain Vince - who played for Chippenham CC as a teenager - said: “It helped that we were bowling second and had runs on the board because we knew Liam and Mo had to sustain the hitting for a long period of time.

“As good a form as Liam is in, we always felt we were only one wicket away. They had to keep going so we were going to get opportunities. Then the partnership got broken in a fairly unusual way with a great bit of fielding.

“It feels pretty good to be crowned champions. Ross Whiteley, whenever he’s been called upon, has been outstanding. I think he changed the game from looking at 140 to suddenly 160-odd – that made a massive difference.

“And Stirlo has gone unnoticed since he arrived, but even if he’s got 20 it’s meant we’ve got off to a bit of a flyer. So to see him get 60-odd was great.”

Despite struggling to four runs from eight balls before being bowled by Imran Tahir, Vince ended the The Hundred as the competition’s third top-run scorer.

The Southern Brave’s captain led his team brilliantly throughout the new tournament as the Hampshire-based outfit developed a winning momentum that took them into the final following a win over Trent Rockets in the Eliminator.

Vince’s short-format credentials received another boost as he lifted The Hundred Trophy two years after being a part of England’s ODI World Cup-winning squad.