Danni Wyatt shines at Hundred as Southern Brave defeat Birmingham Phoenix

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Danni Wyatt in action for Southern Brave - GETTY IMAGES
Danni Wyatt in action for Southern Brave - GETTY IMAGES

It was Wyatt’s way Friday afternoon as the dynamic England opener crunched a six into the stands to take the Southern Brave to three wins from three. Chasing 141 to win, Danni Wyatt’s unbeaten 69 from 40 balls made short work of the target as she carried her bat to see her side home with 18 balls to spare against Birmingham Phoenix.

It was unfamiliar territory at first for Southern Brave at the Rose Bowl, whose unbeaten streak in the tournament to date had rested on some disciplined bowling displays. Not on this occasion, as they conceded the third highest total in the tournament so far.

However, with a much-vaunted batting order, this was simply a test of Southern Brave’s capabilities, and one which they easily met. Wyatt’s 60-run partnership with young England batter Sophia Dunkley broke the back of the chase before a quirk of fate led to Dunkley departing for 41 from 23 balls.

“Really pleased,” beamed Wyatt afterwards. “Sophia Dunkley played really well, and made it easy for me. You have to back yourself. We thought we needed to keep batting and we had plenty of time.”

Dunkley had been setting the pace between the two, with Wyatt on just 18 from 14 when she hammered the ball back at the bowler, Abtaha Maqsood. It was well struck and the leg-spinner could not hold on. But, in a motion that she might in hindsight claim to have been deliberate, Maqsood managed to parry the ball on to the stumps at the non-striker’s end and Dunkley was stranded.

It was not always easy for the Brave. The 25-ball powerplay of their bowling innings produced 40 unflustered runs from Birmingham as the hosts poked around desperately for a wicket. Pace off the ball was the answer as Amanda-Jade Wellington, the confident Australian, flighted the ball up, unperturbed by the damage done to her team-mates before her.

Wellington’s first four balls allowed for just one run against her, as a mini pocket of pressure built on young Indian batter Shafali Verma. Verma, the explosive teenager who impressed in the recent international series between India and England, has yet to get going in this tournament, and on a run-a-ball 22 looked like this might be the one. Not as far as Wellington was concerned, who skidded one into the pads, fuller, straighter and trapping Verma leg before.

The frugal five-ball set meant Wellington was immediately awarded another five. It produced a similar result as Wellington’s final ball of the spell turned and removed the bails behind Eve Jones, who had danced purposefully down the track.

Despite the loss, Phoenix captain Amy Jones’s batting form quietly continues with a composed 42 from 26, but it was another impressive spell of bowling from Lauren Bell. While Bell was unable to add to her four wickets in the tournament, the Brave bowler conceded just 16 runs from her 20 balls.

James Vince shines as Southern Brave register first Hundred win

by Isabelle Westbury

Third time lucky for the Southern Brave’s men who registered their first win in three attempts with a four wicket win over the Birmingham Phoenix. In their first outing at the Rose Bowl and to the home crowd’s delight it was Hampshire’s own, James Vince, who steered his side to victory with an accomplished 38-ball 60.

Just as with the women’s game before it, it was pace off the ball which restricted anything too towering from Birmingham Phoenix. The left arm wrist spin of Jake Lintott picked up two wickets inside three balls just at the moment the visitors were looking to launch. First it was the clean-striking Finn Allen, stumped dancing down the track before a frustrated Moeen Ali couldn’t get the ball away and was clean bowled for a duck, attempting a slog sweep which was never there.

Liam Livingstone may have been the one that got away, ending unbeaten on 68 from 44, but it was a lucky Livingstone as much as it was a swashbuckling one. The burly Lancastrian, on just six, swiped Colin de Grandhomme for a striking six over mid-wicket before mistiming one the very next ball and was caught at mid-off. Only, to the dismay of the New Zealand international, a replay revealed he had overstepped the crease and a no-ball was called. A six the following ball was almost inevitable, and could have crippled a lesser team.

James Vince of Southern Brave hits out while Birmingham Phoenix keeper Chris Cooke looks on during The Hundred match between Southern Brave Men and Birmingham Phoenix Men at The Ageas Bowl on July 30, 2021 in Southampton, England - GETTY IMAGES
James Vince of Southern Brave hits out while Birmingham Phoenix keeper Chris Cooke looks on during The Hundred match between Southern Brave Men and Birmingham Phoenix Men at The Ageas Bowl on July 30, 2021 in Southampton, England - GETTY IMAGES

A century partnership between Livingstone and Gloucestershire’s Miles Hammond (44 from 29) was a frustrating one as much as it was an explosive one, however. At the half-way mark and 151 on the board there was a sense that the visitors could have got more from an outing which only conceded three wickets.

So it proved. The second-wicket partnership between Devon Conway and Vince was a perfectly measured one. Unflustered and intent, Conway was happy to play the rotating foil to Vince’s elegant timing, before accelerating once Vince departed 48-balls in. Some lusty blows from Chris Jordan finished things off and it was an entertaining Friday night for the crowd at the Rose Bowl, who ended the night dancing in the stands to christen their new home team.

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