James Vince top scores for Southern Brave but Bairstow brilliance gives Welsh Fire Hundred victory in Cardiff
Welsh Fire squeezed out a second successive victory in The Hundred as they defeated the Southern Brave by 18 runs thanks to a brilliant 72 from Jonny Bairstow.
The Fire batted first and Bairstow and Ben Duckett both passed fifty as they made 165-4 from their 100 balls.
Bairstow took his time to get set but once he got going he blasted the Brave attack, writes PETER MILLER.
In reply the Brave started brilliantly with Quinton de Kock and Hampshire skipper James Vince scoring at will. A crucial three-wicket burst just after the halfway stage of the Brave innings changed the match and allowed the Fire to strangle the chase, the visitors ending on 147-7.
Just as against the Northern Superchargers, the Fire made things difficult for themselves with the ball with some sloppy fielding but they maintained their perfect record.
The Fire got off to a roaring start thanks to Tom Banton who, batting against Danny Briggs, struck his second and third balls for six and his fourth for four. He raced to 34 from 22 balls before he was bowled by the wrist spin of Jake Lintott.
Bairstow took his time to get set, reaching 20 from 21 balls, but from then on he was brutal on the Brave’s bowling. He reached his fifty in 31 balls and finished on 72 from 39.
Bairstow was brilliantly supported by Duckett who made 53 from 34.
The Fire had been 79-1 after 60 balls before plundering 86 runs from the last 40 balls of their innings.
The Brave got off to an amazing start, taking 27 runs from the first 10 balls as the Fire experimented with Glenn Phillips and Matt Critchley to open the bowling.
Quinton de Kock raced to 21 from seven balls before he was caught going for another big shot over square leg off the bowling of David Payne.
Even after the departure of de Kock the runs continued to flow with Devon Conway and Vince both scoring freely as the Brave reached 85-1 after 50 balls.
Things changed dramatically from there with three batters falling in the space of nine runs and 11 balls with both Conway and Vince (40) dismissed.
The Brave never really recovered from this cluster of wickets with Ross Whiteley’s 25 from 14 giving them some hope, but when he departed he took the last of his team’s chances with him.
Southern Brave’s men will aim to avoid a third straight defeat when The Ageas Bowl hosts its first Hundred game against Birmingham Phoenix on Friday.