The Hundred: Southern Brave underline favourites tag with dominant win over Oval Invincibles

By Jack SkeltonBBC Sport
The Hundred, Ageas Bowl
Southern Brave 115-3 (100 balls): Dunkley 58* (39); Farrant 2-22
Oval Invincibles 85 (94 balls): Van Niekerk 31 (32); Wellington 4-12, Bell 3-22
Southern Brave won by 30 runs
Scorecard.Table

Southern Brave underlined why they are favourites for the women's Hundred title with a dominant 30-run victory over possible final opponents Oval Invincibles.

Brave, who had already secured top spot in the table and a place in the final, needed Sophia Dunkley's 58 not out to post a competitive 115-3 on a slow pitch at The Ageas Bowl.

But a terrific spell from Australia leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, who took the best figures of the competition with 4-12, saw the Invincibles crumble to a dismal 85 all out off 94 balls.

The Invincibles, who were also sloppy in the field, had already guaranteed second spot and a place in the eliminator, but will need to improve on this showing to stand a chance of winning the tournament.

They will most likely discover their eliminator opponents on Tuesday, when Northern Superchargers face Birmingham Phoenix, though their remains a slim mathematical chance of London Spirit qualifying.

An assured Brave side, who won all but one of their group games, await the winners of Friday's eliminator in the showpiece at Lord's on Saturday.

Dunkley's stellar summer

Making history, headlines and heaps of runs - Dunkley, 23, is enjoying a superb summer with the bat.

This was her second 50 in The Hundred and highest score in the competition so far, helping Brave post a competitive total after a sluggish start.

Mainly using her timing and power to target the leg side, she brought up her half-century with a six that thudded into the boundary foam.

In June, she became the first black woman to play Test cricket for England and scored 74 not out on debut against India, also hitting an unbeaten 73 in her first one-day international innings against the same side.

Building on that with her form in The Hundred suggests she can provide England with the middle order support they require for top-order stars Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver.

Invincibles crumble to brilliant Brave

After an initially disciplined bowling display, the Invincibles lost momentum with two misfields that cost boundaries, and two poor drops by Jo Gardner.

Brave were similarly careless in the field, their one area of concern, with Tara Norris fumbling a clear run-out chance, Gaby Lewis dropping a chance to remove Marizanne Kapp over the rope for six and a missed stumping.

But Lewis made amends as Kapp picked her out off Wellington, the start of a collapse of eight wickets for just 21 runs in 30 balls.

Invincibles' captain Dane van Niekerk provided some resistance before Wellington removed her for 31 and she will be frustrated to see her line-up play so many reckless shots.

Though it's easy to see why teams can fall in a heap against the Brave bowlers - Wellington's 4-12 beats the previous best mark of 4-13 by team-mate Anya Shrubsole, with Wellington also having previously taken 4-14.

One more win in Saturday's final at Lord's, and the trophy is Brave's.

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