Southern Brave women take London Spirit in their stride

Danni Wyatt says Southern Brave are embracing the pressure that comes with the Hundred favourites tag after opening their campaign with victory over London Spirit.

Opening batter Wyatt led from the front to smash 65 off 34 balls as Brave chased down 156 with six balls to spare.

Brave were rampant in last year’s group stage but suffered final day nerves to lose to Oval Invincibles at Lord’s – their only defeat in the Hundred.

Wyatt said: “We spoke about last year the other day, that people are going to be after us after that strong start.

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“People have said we have the strongest team on paper again this year. People are going to be after us so it was important we started with a bang. That was a big statement from us.

“I only met up yesterday but it felt back to normal. It doesn’t feel like a year since we last played. It is great to be back with this bunch of legends. Hopefully this is the start to a successful campaign.

“There is pressure with that but it is nice to be in that position. We have got some great players throughout our squad.”

Wyatt suffered a fluffed start to her stunning innings which eventually included 12 fours and a pair of sixes.

She said: “I was none off four balls and in the Hundred if you face a few dots you think, ‘ooh, I need to get a strike and get a few runs.’

“But luckily I hit that six off Freya Davies to get me going. If it was in my area, I was going to strike it and hit the gaps and my areas.

“It is just about assessing conditions. You are facing new bowlers in every game so it is about preparing well and reacting to the ball on the day.”

Brave’s head coach Charlotte Edwards has been linked with the vacant England Women’s head coach role after Lisa Keightley announced she wouldn’t extend her contract at the end of the summer.

Wyatt has played under an Edwards captaincy with England as a youngster and has been coached by her with the Southern Vipers as well as the Brave.

Wyatt said: “We are very lucky to have her here at the Vipers and the Brave. She is a fantastic coach and she brings out the best in all the players.

“She knows what we all need individually, knows what we need to do in training and everyone’s game inside and out.

“If she wants to do it, I’m sure she will be a good coach for England. We saw what a great leader she was when she was captain for England.

“She really cares about every player. She knows what works for the individual. And she is so passionate – which is so contagious. She wants us to win and get the best out of everyone.”

Australian Beth Mooney, who hit 97, was close to being the first female to reach three figures in the competition.

But opening partner Grace Scrivens admitted the runs in the final balls were important wherever they came from. She said: “We wanted her to get to three figures but then Luffy came out and hit a lovely four over extra cover so we didn’t mind as much!

“There were plenty to take away. We batted brilliantly and if that goes through the tournament we will have a lot of chances in a lot of games.”

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