Chris Jordan clubs brutal 70 as Southern Brave rally for victory over Welsh Fire
Chris Jordan smashed an exhilarating 70 off 32 balls to help give Southern Brave their first Hundred victory of 2023 after winning a nailbiter against Welsh Fire by two runs.
England star Jordan dragged Brave from 76 for eight – with Pakistan star Haris Rauf taking three wickets – to a total of 147 for eight with seven sixes and a trio of fours.
Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, Craig Overton and last-set hero Tymal Mills then all claimed two wickets as the 2021 winners bounced back from their opening game defeat to Trent Rockets.
Brave were stuck in and after 76 balls had lost eight wickers and looking down the barrel of an embarrassing sub-100 total.
Fast bowler Rauf was the main architect of the home side’s problems with three for 27 – picking up Finn Allen caught behind off a bouncer, bowling George Garton and bouncing James Fuller out.
Rauf’s fast-bowling compatriot Shaheen Shah Afridi returned to the Ageas Bowl for the first time since taking four in four balls in the Vitality Blast three years ago and had Devon Conway gloving behind.
James Vince, Tim David, Leus du Plooy and Ahmed also fell without making significant contributions.
Jordan had scored just eight off 14 balls when Ahmed was run out but the veteran all-rounder then took centre stage, exploding in a style which got the 12,403 fans at the Ageas Bowl rocking.
He thumped Rauf down the ground for his first six before Roelof van der Merwe’s left-arm spin bore the brunt of a hurricane of maximums.
Long off, mid-wicket and square leg were cleared before Jordan clipped David Payne off his legs for another six as his fifty came up in 26 balls.
Two more sixes and 19 runs off the last five balls took the stand with Overton to 71 in 25 balls, with Jordan contributing 62 of them as the Fire found themselves having to chase a much higher target than they would earlier have expected.
Tim David dropped a dolly to give Luke Wells a life with the first ball of the reply but Joe Clarke suffered his second golden duck in a row.
Wells (24) slogged to long on and Stevie Eskinazi – who had scooped his first ball for an audacious six – was stumped for 31 after a 41-run stand between the pair as Ahmed’s leg spin caused problems.
Tom Abell drilled to cover, Glenn Phillips’ top edge picked out deep fine and Fuller’s parsimonious first 15 balls went for just 11 runs to put Brave in the box seat.
David Willey gave his side hope with hit two sixes off Fuller’s last five before Ben Green went six, four, caught at long on to make the equation 14 off seven balls.
Willey scored eight off the first four balls of the last set from Mills but needing three off the last he was caught at point.
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