|Women’s Hundred: Ageas Bowl, Southampton
|Southern Brave 166-3 (100 balls): Mandhana 78 (52), Wyatt 53 (34); Matthews 2-27
|Welsh Fire 127-4 (100 balls): Redmayne 35* (27), B Smith 33 (27)
|Southern Brave won by 39 runs
Southern Brave booked their place in the final of the women’s Hundred with a dominant victory against Welsh Fire.
In what was potentially the most one-sided game of the competition so far, Brave proved why they’re the Hundred’s only unbeaten team with the competition’s highest batting total: 166-3.
The Brave are blessed with a terrifying opening partnership – Danni Wyatt and Smriti Mandhana are two of the world’s best – and today’s first-wicket stand of 107 set up a convincing win.
Defeat also means Welsh Fire’s hopes of qualifying are over after a difficult few games.
It was the second time in a row they had conceded 100 runs to their opposition’s openers, after Shafali Verma and Eve Jones’ exploits on Monday.
Welsh Fire’s batters simply couldn’t match Brave’s firepower with the bat and ended up well short of their target, finishing on 127-4.
Mandhana’s lucky day
If there’s a player you really don’t want to give a second chance it’s Smriti Mandhana – and don’t Welsh Fire know it!
The last time these two teams played each other, at Cardiff, Mandhana was dropped on the boundary by Alex Griffiths and went on to make a match-winning 61 not out.
And today must have felt all too familiar for Welsh Fire, as she was dropped in the same place, by the same player, before she had even scored a run.
By the time she’d made five, Mandhana was finally out – gifting a simple catch to Bryony Smith. You can just imagine how relieved Fire’s players would’ve felt that the dropped catch hadn’t cost them much this time.
Or… maybe not. The look of confusion on the face of the next batter, Sophia Dunkley, as she had to retreat back to the dugout said it all, because Piepa Cleary had bowled a no ball – and Mandhana survived.
Seven fours and three sixes later, the damage was done.
Can anyone beat Brave’s batting?
With their spot in the final confirmed, Brave will be brimming with confidence. They are unbeaten in the group stages and they look unstoppable.
But can they go on to win the whole thing? Few would bet against them and that’s mainly because of their batting line-up.
If a team is lucky enough to take an early wicket and get rid of Wyatt or Mandhana, England’s new superstar Dunkley comes in next. And if they take another, West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor emerges.
It’s brutal for bowlers, and it will take something special from whoever they’re up against in the final to stop them.
Maybe it’s already written in the stars…