2 Sep 2022 | The Hundred - Women's Competition 2022
Southern Brave Women
132 for 7
Trent Rockets Women
134 for 6
Southern Brave Women win by 2 runs

Words by Alex Smith, ECB Reporters Network

Georgia Adams set up a re-match of the 2021 Hundred final with an all-round master class as Southern Brave nervily book their place in tomorrow’s (SATURDAY) Lord’s showpiece at Trent Rockets’ expense.

Middle-order batter and off-spinner Adams got Brave to a competitive score with an exhilarating 38 off 24 to get her side to 134, having looked unlikely to reach three figures at one point.

She then picked up 2-15 and Tahlia McGrath 2-11, as Trent Rockets only managed to reach 132, despite Nat Sciver’s 72 not out – which took the game to the wire.

Brave, who won by two runs, will be out for revenge against Oval Invincible in the final after being bowled out for 73 last year.

Rockets lost by 10 wickets in the group stage game between the two sides, but enjoyed a much better start as they picked up Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley in the first end, the former for her second duck in succession.

Smriti Mandhana picked up a trio of boundaries but she edged Nat Sciver to short third. Brave’s big three batters, who had scored about two-thirds of their runs in the competition, all out inside 30 balls having been stuck in.

It needed the middle order to fire, and slowly they did. Australian Tahlia McGrath – who had only scored 19 runs in her four innings thus far – steadied things with 31 off 29 balls, having square driven her first ball to the boundary.

She put on 34 with Maia Bouchier before failing to clear wide long-off, before Georgia Adams joined Bouchier to accelerate with a 43-run stand.

Bouchier crashed Katherine Brunt twice through the off-side before heaving Georgia Davis through wide-on to move to 29 and her best score of the tournament.

Adams was even more vicious in her ball striking, after Bouchier had departed, bonking a straight six off Alana King and another dropped into the boundary sponge by Brunt to smash 38 off 30 balls – although she was caught off the final ball by Brunt.

In reply, Elyse Villani and Bryony Smith ticked off runs at a run-a-ball. Smith survived a drop at mid-wicket but things seemed much less frenetic than the Brave innings.

That all changed with the 38th delivery as Rockets collapsed. First, Adams knocked back Smith’s middle stump with her off-spin.

Then McGrath picked up Villani paddling to short fine and Mignon du Preez with a reactionary caught and bowled, to her own disbelief, in the same end. The team in yellow slumped from 40 without loss to 45 for three.

Marie Kelly picked out long on to hand Adams her second wicket, King was castled by fellow Aussie leggie Amanda-Jade Wellington and Molly Strano brilliantly ran out Brunt. But Sciver was the major piece still left in the puzzle.  

She was dropped at mid-off on eight and had a stumping missed on 11, but tucked into any poor balls. She clubbed Lauren Bell, Wellington and McGrath for sixes over the long-on boundary.

Her fifty came in 29 balls but her best was still to come. With 20 required from the final five balls she hit two, then swatted McGrath for three sixes in a row over wide long-on. But with four needed off the final ball she could only hit straight at mid-off. 

Southern Brave all-rounder Tahlia McGrath:

“It got way closer than I would have liked in that last five. I probably only had to nail two balls and that was a struggle. She got hold of me and then batted really well so we were lucky to get over the line.

“I thought my best option for the last ball was a yorker, but I’d tried that the three balls before and been hit for six each time. So I had to decide whether to back that again or take pace off and backed my best ball. I didn’t execute but I got away with it.

“It wasn’t ideal losing three early wickets but we had to consolidate and stem the flow and then let our batters do their thing. The way Bouch and Gads finished off the innings was outstanding.

“Adams gave us momentum going into our bowling which was crucial. She’s been awesome for us all tournament with both bat and ball. She does her job every game and keeps it simple.

“We’re very excited for tomorrow. I have never played at Lord’s and for the team I can see the hunger as last year hurt them. I’m really looking forward to hopefully going one better and lifting that trophy.”

Trent Rockets captain Elyse Villani:

“I thought we were brilliant in patches and it was a really even contest between the two sides and unfortunately, we couldn’t get over the line.

“What Natalie Sciver did at the end was unbelievable. She had no right to make it as close as she did and had us all on the edge of our seats. It was just ridiculous hitting from her.

“At the start of the last five balls I thought we were done but once she got going we started to think that we could win it. We thought there was going to be a fairytale ending there with us just getting into the finals and have a bit more luck go our way.

“Cricket is a pretty fickle game and that was game full of highs and lows and unfortunately, we ended on a pretty deep low.”