Recent Match Report – Brave vs N S-Chargers Final 2023

Southern Brave 139 for 6 (Wyatt 59, Kemp 31, Cross 3-21) beat Northern Superchargers 105 (Moore 3-15, Bell 3-21) by 34 runs

Anya Shrubsole signed off from professional cricket by lifting the Hundred trophy at Lord’s, captaining Southern Brave to their first title in their third final. After successive defeats to Oval Invincibles, they comprehensively outplayed Northern Superchargers in front of a record 21,636 crowd at Lord’s.

Brave’s batting let them down in their first two finals and they were 8 for 2 after nine balls on Sunday, Smriti Mandhana and Maia Bouchier falling cheaply after Superchargers opted to bowl first. But they recovered to set a target of 140, Danni Wyatt making 59 off 38 and Freya Kemp contributing an invaluable 31 off 17 from No. 5.

Lauren Bell struck twice in her first eight balls in Brave’s defence, including removing Superchargers’ leading run-scorer Phoebe Litchfield who was well caught by Kemp at deep cover-point, and Superchargers were always behind the game.

Rhianna Southby, Brave’s 22-year-old wicketkeeper, has played a crucial role for them despite not facing a ball this season: she effected three stumpings in the chase, and finished the Hundred with a tournament-high 11 dismissals.

Jemimah Rodrigues opened the batting for Superchargers and was starved of the strike: when she was caught at extra cover for 24, she had faced just 14 of the first 73 balls bowled. Bell and Kalea Moore took three wickets each, and the winning moment came when Bell whipped off the bails to run No. 11 Grace Ballinger out after a mix-up.

Shrubsole had been due to bowl the final five balls but Superchargers were bowled out with six to spare. Having left international cricket after last year’s World Cup, she opted to play on as Brave captain this year and her impending retirement has been a source of motivation for the squad throughout the season, who were determined to send her off with a trophy.

Shrubsole looked uncharacteristically emotional in the aftermath of the final wicket, and admitted her overwhelming emotion was one of relief. “We feel like we’ve played some brilliant cricket,” she said, “coming into this we’d won 20 out of 25 games which is an unbelievable record. Not to have won the trophy was tough to take so it felt like this was just deserts.”

For Charlotte Edwards, their coach, this was a third short-form trophy this year, after success in the Women’s Premier League with Mumbai Indians and with Southern Vipers in the Charlotte Edwards Cup. Brave have been the best team across the three seasons of the Hundred, and lifted an overdue trophy as the fireworks were set off at Lord’s.

After walking around the boundary from the stage in the Compton Stand, Shrubsole was given a guard of honour by both teams as she walked back towards the pavilion, holding the H-shaped trophy aloft as she did so. It was a fitting send-off for a great of England women’s cricket.

Mandhana hit the first ball of the final for four through point but slashed the second to gully, and when Bouchier skied Kate Cross to extra cover, they were forced to rebuild through Wyatt and Georgia Adams.

They had 45 off the first 43 balls of the final before Wyatt cut loose with back-to-back boundaries off Lucy Higham, at which point Superchargers became ragged in the field. Wyatt, who finished the tournament as leading run-scorer, swept Higham for four to bring up a 35-ball 50 and lofted Georgia Wareham for the first six of the game.

She was primed to accelerate at the death when she was on the wrong end of a freak dismissal: Adams drove the ball straight back at her at the non-striker’s end as she started to take a run, and Cross executed a simple run-out as it popped up into her hands. When Adams holed out to midwicket after a chancy 27 off 28, Superchargers had an opening.

But Kemp added 31 with a streaky cameo, hitting five boundaries to keep Brave on track. She eventually chopped Cross’ cutter onto her stumps; while Cross fumbled both a catch and a run-out chance off the penultimate ball, she was the pick of Superchargers’ attack with 3 for 21 off her 20.

Bell thought she had struck with the first ball of the chase, trapping Marie Kelly on the pad only for her to successfully review the on-field decision. It hardly mattered: Kelly was dismissed by the next delivery she faced, with the ball ricocheting off her pad and onto the base of the stumps.

When Litchfield lofted into the deep, Brave had two early wickets and were in control of the game. Southby’s sharp work gave Moore a wicket with her first ball, stumping Hollie Armitage, and her fast hands accounted for Bess Heath soon after, Chloe Tryon making amends for a drop on the square-leg boundary by beating her on the outside edge.

Shrubsole had Alice Davidson-Richards lbw to leave Superchargers five down, and a brilliant catch by Bouchier – running in off the long-on boundary, then diving forwards at full stretch – meant Rodrigues was their last hope. Having tried and failed to build partnerships by knocking singles, she looked to loft Moore over extra cover but picked Adams out.

Southby pulled off her third stumping as Leah Dobson charged Moore and missed, and Bell administered the last rites, having Higham caught at short fine leg then completing a straightforward run-out at the bowler’s end to cue the celebrations.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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