London Spirit became the first team to be eliminated from the Women’s Hundred
Southern Brave 97 for 3 (Taylor 29*) beat London Ghost 93 (Beaumont 34, Wellington 4-14) by seven wickets
Wellington hit twice in as many balls in her second set of five, clearing two of the Spirit’s leading hitters in Heather Knight and Deepti Sharma. This forced them to rebuild in the middle of the innings. Tammy Beaumont struggled to swerve and accelerate towards the end, but fell before she had a chance as Wellington returned to break her resistance. Spirit was eventually bundled for 93.
The Brave were unconvincing in the chase, with Sharma bringing back 2 for 10 of her 20 balls, including the key wickets of Smriti Mandhana and Sophia Dunkley. But Stafanie Taylor, who has scored 109 runs in the competition without being sacked, didn’t look her way home with a clinical 29 on 32 balls, with Maia Bouchier providing helpful support from No. 5.
The attendance at Lord’s was reportedly a record for a professional domestic women’s match in the UK, beating the 13,537 on the ground for the Spirit’s game against Oval Invincibles last weekend.
Wide, wide, wide Delilah
The Spirit’s Powerplay was bizarre. They reached 30 for 1 after 25 balls either side of a short rain delay, but only managed 10 runs off the bat – six of them when Beaumont picked up Lauren Bell over the leg side. Instead, two-thirds of their runs came from wide, with Anya Shrubsole, Tara Norris and Bell all struggling to control the swinging ball as they tried to cramp the batters for straight-line space.
There were 27 extras in all, 25 of them in wide, and Wellington admitted at halftime that it was “something we really need to work on as a bowling unit” – although with just one Spirit batter reaching double digits, it proved not expensive.
The Wizardry of Wellington
Wellington had a brief taste of international cricket in 2017-18 but has been on the outside of the Australian lineup for the past three years and has used the Hundred to pitch her case for a recall. Her 80 balls so far in the competition have cost only 59 runs, and her flat leg fractures are proving difficult to get away.
Her first act was to complete her second direct hit of the week, mirroring her attempt to knock out Bryony Smith against Welsh Fire in Cardiff on Tuesday. Midway through, after her pick-up-and-throw, Naomi Dattani stranded short of her ground at the end of the non-striker, giving the Brave their first wicket of the sixth ball of the innings.
Ball in hand, she hit twice as many balls during her second set of five, with Knight breaking a leg fracture to cover and Sharma stumped after overbalancing. She returned to throw her last five balls on death, and had Beaumont—her former Adelaide Strikers teammate, whose 34 of 45 balls were unusually scratchy when she dropped anchor—caught through a leading edge into cover. Then she tricked Amara Carr by throwing one above the eyeline and hitting her with a sharp fracture of the leg to leave Carla Rudd with a straight forward punch.
“We came back very well to limit them to under 100,” she said. “I saw on the field that there was a small corner so I thought I would vary my pace here and there and vary my height. Hopefully I can continue this good form – I’m just really focusing on performing consistently for the We haven’t really played the perfect match yet, so hopefully we’ll make it to the end.”
Taylor seals it
The Brave would probably never suffer from such a low target, but struggled to find a significant partnership to take them home. Sharma’s flat offbreaks were particularly effective, while Charlotte Dean and Danielle Gibson were also stingy with their spin, but wickets were the order of the day and Spirit only managed three of them.
The slow pitch didn’t help the spectacle, with the Brave’s batters hitting the ball regularly but having trouble finding the boundaries, while the Spirit was sloppy on the field. Taylor crawled to 29, not out, and turned the strike at his leisure as Knight struggled to hold on to the squeeze, and Bouchier’s straight six – one of only two in the game – eased the remaining scoring pressure.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
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