Danni Wyatt stars in Ageas Bowl’s first ever Hundred game as Southern Brave women move to the top of the table

Southern Brave continued their unbeaten run in The Hundred, beating Birmingham Phoenix by eight wickets to go top of the table in the first tournament game held at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl.

By Community Sport Reporter
Friday, 30th July 2021, 9:15 pm
Southern Brave's Danni Wyatt hitting a six to win the match at The Ageas Bowl. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire.
Southern Brave's Danni Wyatt hitting a six to win the match at The Ageas Bowl. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire.

Danni Wyatt was the lynchpin, hammering an unbeaten 69 from 40 balls - including four sixes - and making mincemeat of the 141-run target set by Phoenix, chasing it down with 18 balls to spare, writes RAF NICHOLSON.

Wyatt shared important partnerships with Sophia Dunkley (41 from 23) and Stafanie Taylor (22 not out from 14), making Phoenix’s total of 140 - led by an unbeaten 42 from 26 balls by skipper Amy Jones - look severely inadequate.

Brave had lost Smriti Mandhana early in their chase, caught hitting into the wind at deep midwicket off the eighth ball, but Dunkley ensured her side kept up with the required rate during the 25-ball powerplay.

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Southern Brave's Sophia Dunkley. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire.

Dunkley eventually fell to the 43rd ball, unfortunate to be run out at the non-striker’s end after a Wyatt drive deflected off the hand of bowler Abtaha Maqsood.

Wyatt, though, ploughed on undaunted, slamming Izzy Wong for the first six of the day over cover before bringing up a 33-ball half-century off the 72nd delivery and seeing Brave home with bags of time to spare.

Earlier, Phoenix’s new opening partnership of Verma and Eve Jones - their third opening combination in as many matches - had seen the pair add 58 runs from 45 balls.

Brave captain Anya Shrubsole was punished for 17 runs from her initial five, Verma showcasing her ferocious pull shot.

Abtaha Maqsood of Birmingham Phoenix Women in bowling action at The Ageas Bowl. Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images.

She added insult to injury in the next set of five by sending the 22nd ball just clear of Shrubsole at mid-on.

But leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington (2-16) made a crucial double breakthrough, removing both batters in the space of six balls - Verma falling LBW to the 45th, while Jones was bowled off the 50th coming down the pitch.

Struck on the front pad, Verma appealed to DRS, but reviews showed it was “too close to call” and the on-field decision stood.

Skipper Amy Jones and Katie Mack combined in a 72-run partnership to ensure the punishment of the Brave bowlers continued. Jones saved the best for the 89th delivery: facing speedster Lauren Bell, she moved across her stumps, got down on one knee and swept beautifully through backward point for four.

Phoenix, though, stuttered in the final 10 balls, with Mack run out courtesy of an astute throw-in from Dunkley at midwicket before Erin Burns fell LBW to Shrubsole without scoring - their inability to finish with a flourish ultimately costing them dearly.

After Brave’s third win in as many games, Wyatt said: ‘It was a really pleasing innings and a great win for us.

‘I was just batting and if it was in my area I’d go for it. I was defending the good balls, there were easy singles, and Dunks [Sophia Dunkley] was going really nicely which helped me as well - it didn’t put any pressure on me.

‘The Hundred has been an amazing spectacle for the women’s game, and the men’s. Amazing atmosphere again today - every game we’ve playedthere’s been really good crowds.

‘It’s fast-paced, it’s quick, you can't take much time to chill.

‘The girls have been on fire in these first three games. Hopefully we can rest well - we’ve got a massive game on Sunday at Lord’s against the Spirit, who have got an exceptional team, so that’s going to be a cracker of a match.’