Surrey all-rounder Sean Abbott equalled the fastest century in the T20 Blast off 34 balls as they beat Kent at The Oval.
Abbott, whose previous highest T20 score was 41, matched Andrew Symonds’ effort for Kent in 2004 with a display of extraordinary hitting.
Coming in with Surrey in trouble on 64-4, the Australia international smashed 11 sixes to finish 110 not out off 41 deliveries and take the hosts to 223-5.
Daniel Bell-Drummond and Tawanda Muyeye’s opening stand of 108 got the visitors off to an excellent start but they collapsed from 135-1 to 147-6 and fell short on 182-7.
The game in south London was one of eight played on an exhilarating first Friday night of the 2023 competition.
Elsewhere, Worcestershire Rapids scored 20 off the final over to beat Yorkshire Vikings and make it back-to-back wins in the North Group.
Graham Clark’s unbeaten 102 powered Durham to a 10-wicket victory at Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Notts Outlaws raced to a four-wicket win against East Midlands rivals Derbyshire Falcons.
There was more rapid scoring at Grace Road as Sam Hain’s 65 not out off 43 balls balls helped unbeaten Birmingham Bears beat Leicestershire Foxes by five wickets.
In the South Group, James Vince’s 88 not out took defending champions Hampshire to an eight-wicket victory over Middlesex, Somerset chased 184 at Sussex and Glamorgan sneaked home by two wickets at Gloucestershire.
Abbott into the record books
With a T20 batting average of just 10.91 in 76 innings, few would have expected what was to come when Abbott came to the middle in the ninth over.
The 31-year-old brought up his maiden half-century off 22 deliveries and then proceeded to pummel Kent’s bowlers to all parts of a packed Oval.
Paceman Kane Richardson took particular punishment as Abbott blasted 30 off the 17th over and then went to his hundred with back-to-back flat sixes off Michael Hogan.
Only Chris Gayle (30 balls), Rishabh Pant (32 balls) and Wihan Lubbe (33 balls) have scored faster centuries in T20 cricket.
Kent looked well set to reach their mammoth target of 224 with Bell-Drummond and Muyeye taking them past 100 in the ninth over.
But once Bell-Drummond swung Sunil Narine to Tom Lawes in the deep, Kent lost six wickets for 22 runs in the middle overs to lose by 41 runs.
“Batting records could not be further from my radar,” Abbott said.
“I’ve spent some time in the middle already this year in the red-ball stuff and I was talking with my skipper back home, Moises Henriques, about coming into a lot of games here quite close together. I asked him how I could improve and contribute.
“My numbers aren’t great with the bat, I know that, and he was honest with me.
“He told me to keep working on a couple of things and if I get an opportunity, to go out there and do my best, so it was nice to get some positive feedback and reassurance from him – that certainly helped tonight.”
Last-over drama at New Road
Adam Finch was the hero for Worcestershire Rapids as he struck Yorkshire paceman Matthew Fisher for three sixes in the last over to take his side to a two-wicket victory.
Finch, in just his fourth T20 innings, finished on 30 off 10 deliveries as the Rapids got home with one ball to spare.
“I don’t think I will ever manage to hit three in a row like that again but really glad about it,” Finch said.
“With the last six, I think it was the longest period of time in my life, seeing the ball in the air and then keep going. It was really nice to see it land.”
Earlier Yorkshire had recovered well from 64-4 to post 175-9 aided by a fifth-wicket stand of 56 between Matt Revis (42) and Jordan Thompson (36).
Adam Hose’s 44 put the Rapids on course but there was then a clatter of wickets before Finch helped them to 177-8.
Former Worcestershire batter Joe Clarke starred with 68 off 29 balls as Nottinghamshire eased to their target of 179 to beat Derbyshire.
Fifties from Luis Reece and Wayne Madsen had taken the Falcons to 178-6 but opener Clarke and Matt Montgomery (51) made light work of the chase. George Scrimshaw picked up three wickets in the 17th over to take some gloss off the victory but Notts were already well home by then.
Durham needed only 13.2 overs to go past Northants’ 137 all out as Clark’s 49-ball century with support from Alex Lees saw them to 141-0.
Durham leg-spinner Nathan Sowter returned the most impressive bowling figures of the night with 5-15.
At Grace Road, no Leicestershire batter went past 30 in their 166-7 and Birmingham Bears got to their target easily with Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (47 off 27 balls) and Hain putting on 90 for the third wicket.
Vince shows class for Hawks
Holders Hampshire sent Middlesex to their second defeat in consecutive days thanks to Vince’s classy innings of 88 off 55 balls at the Ageas Bowl.
The visitors looked on course for more than their 171 all out having been 161-4 at the start of the 18th over, but after the wicket of Pieter Malan for 80 they could only muster another 10 runs off their final 15 deliveries.
Ben McDermott and Vince took the Hawks to 91 without loss and the hosts never looked back as Vince went past fifty for the 56th time in T20s.
At Hove, Sussex all-rounder Ravi Bopara matched Vince’s unbeaten 88 but it was in a losing cause against Somerset.
Bopara, playing his 440th T20 game, struck three fours and seven sixes in his 49-ball innings as Sussex made 183-8.
Tom Banton got Somerset off to a flying start, smashing 28 off the fourth over from Fynn Hudson-Prentice. Once Banton was out for 32, Tom Kohler-Cadmore picked up the mantle with five sixes in his 72.
Three quick wickets made it a nervy end for the visitors before Ben Green hit a four in the final over to help them over the line with three balls to spare.
There was another last-over finish in Bristol as Glamorgan beat Gloucestershire with five deliveries remaining.
Ben Charlesworth’s 56 had helped the hosts recover from 49-4 to 161-9 and Glamorgan looked in trouble at 149-8 in the 19th over.
But back-to-back sixes from Ruaidhri Smith and Timm van der Gugten gave Glamorgan victory.