Words by Jamie Green, ECB Rising Reporter
The Rising Reporter programme is providing young and aspiring journalists with opportunities to take the next step in their career
Beth Mooney’s record-breaking innings proved in vain as Danni Wyatt’s brutal knock gave last year’s runners-up Southern Brave an impressive six-wicket win against London Spirit.
Australia star Mooney had bludgeoned an unbeaten 97 from 55 balls on her Spirit debut to post the highest individual score in the Women’s Hundred.
But Wyatt belted 65 from just 34 balls as the Brave reached a challenging target of 156 with six balls to spare at the Ageas Bowl.
Wyatt’s England teammate Sophia Dunkley guided her side home following Wyatt’s run-out with a classy unbeaten 34.
Opener Wyatt had kept Brave in the game with a series of eye-catching early shots as her side reached 42 for no wicket by the end of the 25-ball powerplay.
India international opener Smriti Mandhana, dropped on five, gradually grew in confidence, belting a towering six off New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr.
But she was caught soon after when trying to repeat the shot off the impressive Dani Gibson.
Wyatt continued to attack, reaching her third career fifty in The Hundred with a massive maximum off Kerr.
The 31-year-old smashed new Spirit captain Charlie Dean for three consecutive fours as the Brave moved ahead of the rate at the half-way stage.
Wyatt’s run out, followed by the dismissal of Maia Bouchier two balls later, looked like it could be a turning point.
But Dunkley took over where Wyatt left off and Freya Kemp won the game with her second six.
Earlier, Mooney dominated an opening stand of 36 with Grace Scrivens, who was bowled for one by Georgia Adams.
The loss of her opening partner did not seem to affect the Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who continued to play aggressively alongside new batter Kerr.
Kerr, dropped by Bouchier on 13, played the perfect supporting role with a fluent 37 as the Spirit put the home side under severe pressure.
Mooney reached fifty from 32 balls shortly after Brave captain Shrubsole called a time-out in an attempt to slow the Spirit’s momentum.
She continued to put the bowlers to the sword, hitting Amanda-Jane Wellington for consecutive boundaries.
But Wellington, Brave’s leading wicket-taker in last year’s Hundred, recovered well later in the set as she got Kerr caught behind following a review.
It soon got even better for Brave.
The dangerous Gibson was out the very next ball after she could only loop up a return catch to Wellington.
Even two wickets in two balls did not stop Mooney, who passed Jemimah Rodrigues’s previous record score of 92 not out with an edge for four past wicketkeeper Carla Rudd.
Though the Australia international fell three short of her century after only managing two from the final ball, her scintillating innings helped the Spirit to a seemingly imposing total.
But Wyatt and the Brave had other ideas.