Southern Brave top Hundred table after dramatic win over Welsh Fire
Southern Brave went top of the Hundred table with a last-ball win against Welsh Fire in front of a record women’s crowd of 6,500 in Cardiff.
Captain Anya Shrubsole kept her nerve to get a leg bye off the final ball from Shabnim Ismail as Brave chased down the Fire total of 144 for five with two wickets to spare.
Sophia Dunkley hit a half-century for Fire, with Sarah Bryce an unbeaten 44, while Maia Bouchier and Smriti Mandhana laid the foundation for Brave to eventually creep over the line.
Brave put Fire in and Tammy Beaumont departed after a breezy start, caught on the boundary off Georgia Adams, but Dunkley was in sparkling form against her former team-mates.
She reached her fifty off just 32 balls, getting good support in a second-wicket partnership from Scotland’s Bryce, but went next delivery, bowled when trying to cut a Chloe Tryon arm ball.
New batter Laura Harris then upped the scoring rate, getting 19 off seven balls including a towering straight six off Lauren Bell, before being bowled by Shrubsole going for another big hit.
Bryce anchored the innings with an unbeaten 44 off 36, while Adams extended her lead as the competition’s top wicket-taker, taking two for 22 from her 20 balls.
Ismail opened the bowling following on from her hat-trick heroics in the victory over Birmingham Pheonix and continued in wicket-taking form by dismissing Danni Wyatt with her fifth ball.
But the Women’s Hundred top run-scorer Mandhana was soon into her stride for Brave, with good support from Bouchier.
They progressed to 77 at the halfway stage, Dunkley missing a run-out chance to dismiss Mandhana when she could not reach the stumps at the bowler’s end.
It did not prove too expensive as the Indian lofted to Ismail on the deep extra cover boundary off the bowling of Freya Davies to depart for 41 off 30 balls.
Bouchier took on the role of main aggressor before Davies took a catch running back from mid-off off Georgia Elwiss’ bowling to dismiss her for 42 off 26.
Elwiss made it two wickets from two balls as Freya Kemp went lbw and the pendulum swung firmly towards Welsh Fire.
But Tryon survived the hat trick ball before Adams kept her side in the game with 40, leaving the bottom order to get over the line.
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