Southern Brave shot down Birmingham Phoenix in full flight at the Ageas Bowl in The Hundred, chasing 141 in just 82 balls, at a Run Rate of 1.71. That’s more than 10 an over in “old money” – by far the best Run Rate posted in the women’s competition to date.
The result puts the Southern Brave top of the table – an increasingly familiar feeling around these parts, with the Southern Vipers currently top of both the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the T20 Charlotte Edwards Cup.
There’s still a long way to go in The Hundred of course, and topping the league counts for nothing if you don’t go on to win the final, but the Brave have really set down a marker with this performance, after the Phoenix posted 140, which looked like a pretty good score, with Amy Jones in particular looking in lovely touch – hitting 42 off 26 balls.
When Amy Jones took a brilliant catch to dismiss Sophia Dunkley for 36, racing from behind the stumps to take the ball on the dive at short fine leg, it felt like a pivotal moment – Wyatt had made a start on 17 but she was running a lot of singles, and it was Dunkley that was really driving the chase for the Brave, having just hit two consecutive 4s off Em Arlott.
Except… it wasn’t quite to be! The delivery from which Dunkley had been caught was deemed a marginal no ball on height, and she was reprieved. The pivot itself had pivoted, and although the gods made sure to set the record straight – having Dunkley run-out off a deflection from Abtaha Maqsood at the non-striker’s end a few balls later – the Brave looked good for the win from that moment.
Perhaps having taken confidence from Dunkley that there were some serious runs in this pitch, Wyatt began to relax, just as she did for England at Chelmsford a couple of weeks ago. The straight boundaries at the Ageas were short, but square they were huge, which seems to be the policy for this competition. Nonetheless, Wyatt began to find them with ease – hitting five 4s and four 6s, including a huge maximum to finish the game. Crucially, Wyatt also continued to “run” runs – finishing with 25 “run” runs – 36% of her final score. The Hundred may be all about the big hits, but the singles can be just as important and without those 25 runs the Brave would have had a much harder time overhauling their target.
There are still those who have their doubts about Danni Wyatt – having grown up in the pre-professional era, her technique is not what you’d call classical, and she’s very dependent on the inside-out drive over cover, which feels like such a high-risk shot. She hasn’t got the 360 degree arc of Tammy Beaumont… or the power of Nat Sciver… or the precision of team-mate Smriti Mandhana.
But at the end of the day, there comes a point where you can’t argue with the numbers any more – not just in domestic cricket, but against the very best sides in the world, Danni Wyatt continues to prove again and again that on her day, anything you can do, she can do better.