Southern Brave beaten in Hundred final

Oval Invincibles (105-5) beat Southern Brave (101-7) by five wickets

Oval Invincibles’ potent bowling attack shone again at Lord’s as they retained the women’s Hundred title, overcoming Southern Brave by five wickets in a rerun of the 2021 final.

The Invincibles – who had rolled their opponents for just 73 last year – restricted Brave to 101 for seven, with seamer Shabnim Ismail taking two for 12 and off-spinner Alice Capsey two for 17.

Fellow South African Marizanne Kapp, the Invincibles’ star bowler with four wickets in last year’s final, played a key role with the bat as she steered her side home with an unbeaten 37 from 33 balls.

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Leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, already the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, increased her tally to 17 with two for 25. But it was not enough to claw the game back and Invincibles sealed victory with six deliveries to spare.

Brave, the only team to contradict the Invincibles’ name during the group stage when they triumphed by 12 runs, opted to bat first again after winning the toss.

But, apart from Danni Wyatt’s successive leg-side boundaries off Sophia Smale, they found it hard to gain any traction and were stifled by Ismail’s canny variations of pace and length.

The seamer claimed the opening wicket, dashing down the pitch to grab Wyatt’s mistimed pull at full stretch, while Smriti Mandhana also departed to a return catch, slapping Smale’s long hop straight back to the grateful bowler.

Sophia Dunkley (26 from 23) and Tahlia McGrath (20 from 17) did their best to inject some momentum with a stand of 44. But the loss of both in the space of three deliveries deflated the Brave’s hopes of posting a sizeable score.

Capsey collected two wickets, while Ismail returned to bowl Freya Kemp in her final set and Kapp (one for 19) also helped to ensure her side would have to chase just 102.

Brave skipper Anya Shrubsole struck early in the Invincibles’ reply, luring Lauren Winfield-Hill out of her ground for Carla Rudd to take off the bails.

Shrubsole was unable to reach a difficult chance soon afterwards, back-pedalling at backward square when Capsey top-edged Georgia Adams – and the batter took advantage by pummelling Kemp for 14 in three balls, including the only six of the contest.

Capsey (25 from 17) survived another close call as Mandhana spilled a regulation catch at mid-off, but her luck ran out when she was bowled reverse-sweeping Adams.

Her dismissal swiftly followed that of Suzie Bates, unlucky to play on to Wellington via her pad and left Invincibles looking uncertain at 33 for three, but Kapp eased any hint of nerves by hitting the spinner for back-to-back boundaries.

Although Lauren Bell brought one back to castle Mady Villiers and Kira Chathli became a second victim for Wellington, it was not enough to deny the Invincibles another Hundred crown.

Oval Invincibles captain Suzie Bates said: “Our bowling group did an outstanding job to keep them to that score. It got pretty tense there. It was always going to be a nervy chase but we held our nerve and it’s brilliant to have young players perform.

“The way Marizanne Kapp batted under pressure is just awesome. She’s one of the established all-rounders in the world and she showed why – she turns up for those tough moments.

“The South Africans are tough. They compete and really fight. With them and a squad of young talented players, we’ve got a really nice balance.”

Southern Brave captain Anya Shrubsole said: “We obviously came here wanting to win. We feel like we’ve played good cricket throughout the competition and we just fell short today.

“Credit to Oval (Invincibles). They very much seem to turn it on in finals. They’ve got match-winners there and they’ve done us two years in a row, so it’s pretty disappointing.

“In the end we were probably 15 to 20 runs short. I think if we’d have got 120 we’d have been right in the game and even if we’d been flawless with the ball and in the field it might have been enough. But it wasn’t to be.”

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