It was third time lucky for Southern Brave, who suffered heartbreak in the first two Finals of the Hundred at Lord’s, at the hands of the Oval Invincibles.
Today was a different story. In front of a crowd of 21.636, they won by 35 runs against Northern Superchargers. There must have been an element of here we go again in the Southern Brave camp when Hollie Armitage hung on to the catch to dismiss Maia Bouchier for four to give Kate Cross her first wicket of the day. Brave found themselves eight for two after nine balls. Today, Danni Wyatt came to their rescue with a composed 59 that propelled her side to 139 for six.
Smriti Mandhana caressed the first ball of the game through cover but was out the next ball, chasing a delivery slightly wider and moving from Grace Ballinger. It would have been more difficult for Marie Kelly to get out of the way of the catch at gully.
It had put Brave in a position they hadn’t been in too often and were two down in the Powerplay.
A third-wicket partnership of 87 from Wyatt and Georgia Adams started to put the innings back on track. Wyatt and Adams have played a lot of cricket together, first at Sussex and then more recently at Southern Vipers in the regional competitions. Their partnership ended when Adams creamed a Cross delivery straight back at Wyatt, who inadvertently diverted into the path of Cross who reacted quickest to run out Wyatt for a 38 ball 59.
Freya Kemp, another Sussex and Vipers teammate, made sure that the tempo started to increase with 31 from 17 balls. Kemp, who is still coming back from a serious stress fracture to her back, was hobbling at times; the grimace on her face as she turned for a second run was evident, but it didn’t stop her from targeting the boundaries, scoring five fours in her short stay in the middle. Her determination was there, and at one point her bat slipped from her grip as she tried to welly it through cover.
Cross did her best to peg it back for the Superchargers and took two wickets in her final set to finish with figures of three for 21.
Things didn’t start well for Superchargers, who knew they would have to bat a certain lick to stay in the game. It didn’t help that Marie Kelly departed the second ball as she played on a Lauren Bell delivery after she had survived an lbw decision on the first ball that the review showed was going well down the leg side.
Much would depend on the overseas players Pheobe Litchfield and Jemimah Rodrigues. After Kelly departed, Litchfield was on strike for the successive 11 balls, and it repeated a pattern through the rest of the innings, and Rodrigues was stranded at the wrong end.
In the 14 balls that Rodrigues faced, she scored 24, but former Supercharger Kalea Moore took the vital wicket as the India international tried to accelerate the innings.
Moore, who finished with figures of three for 15, also had the help of Rhianna Southby, the Brave wicketkeeper, for two stumpings that saw an end to Hollie Armitage and Leah Dobson.
While it wasn’t Anya Shrubsole who took the winning wicket – the run out of Ballinger – she collected the Hundred trophy in her final match at the ground, where she was immortalised in the 2017 World Cup final.