Sophia Dunkley’s undefeated 58 enabled Southern Brave to post 115-3 before they bowled out Oval Invincibles for just 85 in reply; Brave are already through to the final of the Hundred, while Invincibles will face Northern Superchargers or Birmingham Phoenix in the Eliminator
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 16/08/21 6:47pm
Leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington took 4-12 and Sophia Dunkley struck an unbeaten 58 as Southern Brave warmed up for the Hundred final with a 30-run win against Oval Invincibles.
STORY OF THE MATCH
Brave’s batters struggled to get on top of both the seam and spin options in the visitors’ bowling armoury, posting 115-3 – their lowest total of a Hundred completed innings so far.
That score was built around an impressive unbeaten knock of 58 from 39 balls by Sophia Dunkley, who shared a third-wicket stand of 75 with Stafanie Taylor – although both batters were dropped in the deep by the luckless Jo Gardner.
Oval seamer Tash Farrant’s changes of pace perplexed the Brave at times and she finished with figures of 2-22, including the wicket of Taylor as Gardner finally clung onto a catch at long-on.
The Invincibles floundered at the start of their chase, with Georgia Adams caught on the boundary and Fran Wilson almost doing the splits as she was stumped off Wellington’s first delivery.
Wellington’s crafty leg-breaks were too much for the visitors to cope with and she went on to finish with 4-12, claiming the crucial wicket of Marizanne Kapp (26 from 24) as the Brave reasserted control.
The Invincibles’ hopes rested with Dane van Niekerk (31 from 32) but, when Wellington had him caught in the deep, they swiftly folded to 85 all out, with Lauren Bell taking 3-22 as the last seven wickets fell for 21.
The general consensus was that the Brave total had been below par – but it proved more than enough thanks to Wellington’s flight and variation, which turned the game with an outstanding spell of bowling.
As well as conceding only 12 from her 20 balls, the Australian leg-spinner collected wickets at critical moments – particularly those of Kapp and Van Niekerk, who had looked as if they might oversee a successful Invincibles chase.
After a slow start, Dunkley rapidly found her rhythm and the accuracy of her hitting was shown by a leg-side slog off Mady Villiers which bisected two fielders perfectly and whistled to the boundary.
Just to highlight the point, Dunkley met out the same treatment to the next delivery, with the same two fielders scrambling again in vain to prevent the ball rolling across the rope.
ARE YOU SURE?
Opening for the Brave in place of the unavailable Smriti Mandhana, Ireland’s Gaby Lewis began well with a couple of pull shots for four, but she was soon trudging off despite the visitors’ appeal for an edge behind being turned down.
Bizarrely, the Brave batter made her way almost as far as the boundary while TV umpire Nigel Llong reviewed the decision – and looked startled when she saw on the screen that Ultra Edge had proved inconclusive.
Sometimes you can be too honest and, fortunately for Lewis, the Invincibles were not feeling quite ruthless enough to try and run her out. Could there even have been grounds to have her ‘timed out’, you wonder?
WHAT THEY SAID
Southern Brave’s Amanda-Jade Wellington:
“I thought if we got to 110-115 it was defendable on a wicket like that. It was really hard to start on but once (Sophia) Dunkley and a few of the girls got going on that pitch it actually looked like a really good pitch.
“I think you can go into these games with a 50-50 mindset. Some people might think it is a dead rubber but we had to put on a display and put on a show for our crowd.
“It was important as well to show we can beat that sort of team as well. We did a fantastic job.”
Oval Invincibles’ Tash Farrant:
“Obviously we would have liked to have chased that down, but we gave them 20 runs in the field and we pride ourselves on our fielding and leaked a few runs through the middle.
“Sophia Dunkley batted really well but if we could have kept them to around 100 it would have been a much easier chase on a slow wicket.
“If we win our Eliminator we are going to play the Brave in the final so we must put this result to bed and get ourselves up for the Eliminator on Friday at The Oval.”
It is the penultimate round of group matches in The Hundred – and, as you would expect, the stakes are high at Emerald Headingley!
Northern Superchargers will seal an Eliminator spot in the women’s tournament if they beat Birmingham Phoenix, but an away win could yet send the Phoenix through at Superchargers’ expense.
Superchargers vs Phoenix
August 17, 2021, 2:30pm
Superchargers vs Phoenix
August 17, 2021, 6:00pm
It is a 3pm start – and that is followed by the men’s clash at 6.30pm, where Phoenix can clinch automatic qualification for the final if they overcome the Superchargers.
Both games are live on Sky Sports The Hundred, Main Event and Mix.
Watch The Hundred live on Sky Sports between now and August 21.