Sophia Dunkley finishes Southern Brave league stage high
By Sangeeta Viswas
on Tue Aug 17 2021
The Hundred gave their dead-rubber time for all, bubbling undercards, England and India battling at Lord’s, Sophia Dunkley finished the Southern Braves league stage high but Southern’s defense of 115 was still on. may also prove to be important.
The Braves qualified for Saturday’s final with their win against Welsh Fire last week, while progress to Friday’s Eliminator at their home ground of the Oval Invincible was protected by Trent Rockets’ defeat against Manchester Originals. Today’s match took on more importance with the assumption that they would meet in the final.
This summer’s breakthrough England player Sophia replaced the Braves’ unbeaten 58 at No. 3, bringing Jemima Rodrigues’ number four run to the tournament. Despite the slow play of the hybrid pitch used, her 115 for 3 fell a bit short, but Amanda-Jade Wellington beat the middle order with 4 for 12 in 20 balls.
The Southern Brave’s win was their seventh win in eight group matches and there is no doubt that they will be of interest in the knockout stages. The win here was without Smriti Mandhana – who has returned home from India’s series against Australia to spend time with her family, while her big names put on a good show, their uncapped home players – Lauren Bell, Tara Norris, and Fi. Morris was the foundation. Important in keeping things tidy in retrospect.
Dunkley went on to score runs in the Ageas Bowl in this competition in the form of her life. She scored 172 runs in one run in her four innings at home, with Sophia Dunkley finishing the Southern Braves league stage high, 131 since her last dismissal. “It’s a great place to play,” she laughed at the interval.
Sophia was not at her best and rode her luck as the ground was uncharacteristically muddy. She survived a miss stumping on 2 when Sarah Bryce failed to collect a low full toss while unseeded, dropped at long-on by Joe Gardner – the first of two to miss the four-ball gap at 30, and it benefited.
But she was a destroyer through the leg side, latching on short and scoring heavily from the middle of midwicket. Sophia Dunkley’s split-hand grip gives her immense power as she swings her toes, and she was hard at targetting Maddie Villiers, hitting five fours – going into a potential re-match in the final, off her head The psychological advantage-head match-up should not be underestimated.
Wellington was a late anointing for Amelia Kerr in the same vein as the Southern Braves but remained their star bowler throughout the hundred. She is the only bowler in the women’s competition to have taken 10 or more wickets conceding less than a run and made her case for Australia to be recalled three-and-a-half years after her last cap.
She struck her first ball on Monday, with Fran Wilson stumping the Braves soon after the powerplay for a much-needed breakthrough, getting her the crucial Marizan Cup wicket in the second half of the innings, with a good run at mid-off. Well, hit.
Deep on the leg side, Gardner completed her surgery afternoon with a stumping on the second ball. This left her to complete a five-for of a delivery which she ripped off the outside edge of Sarah Bryce, tasking her with the best bowling figures in the women’s competition.