The Hundred: Oval Invincibles beat Southern Brave to win second title

Women’s Hundred final, Lord’s
Southern Brave 101-7 (100 balls): Dunkley 26 (23); Ismail 2-12, Capsey 2-17
Oval Invincibles 105-5 (94 balls): Kapp 37* (33)
Oval Invincibles won by five wickets

Oval Invincibles won the women’s Hundred for the second year in a row with another victory over Southern Brave at Lord’s.

In a repeat of last year’s final, the Invincibles expertly restricted the Brave to 101-7 with a fine all-round bowling performance.

South Africa international Shabnim Ismail and 18-year-old England star Alice Capsey took two wickets each while 17-year-old spinner Sophia Smale also dismissed Sophia Dunkley for 26 – the highest score from Brave’s fearsome batting order.

The Invincibles’ run-chase became increasingly tense, in front of a record crowd for a women’s domestic match of 20,840, but Marizanne Kapp steered the Invincibles to a five-wicket victory with six balls to spare.

The South African ended on 37 not out while Emily Windsor hit the winning runs to end unbeaten on 13 before being mobbed by her team-mates who rushed onto the field.

The men’s final between Trent Rockets and Manchester Originals follows from 18:45 BST, having been delayed because of technology issues.

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Kapp stands up as Invincibles go back to back

It was not a match of thrilling boundary hitting but became a suitably nervy match to suit the occasion – Lord’s all-but full by the end.

Despite 25 from Capsey, the defending champions were still 24 runs away from victory when Windsor joined Kapp in the middle.

Kapp, one of the world’s best all-rounders, played the role of experienced professional and talked Windsor through the tension between deliveries. Windsor, who combines her playing career with commentating on BBC radio, at no point looked overawed.

But despite the calm in the middle, the tension was clear elsewhere. Kapp’s wife Dane van Niekerk, the Invincibles captain last year who was left out of the playing XI for the final, was on her feet on the Lord’s balcony, visibly struggling with the nerves.

Kapp, who missed the Commonwealth Games earlier this summer because of a serious illness within her family, was cool throughout, however.

That was until she dropped to one knee after the winning moment, the 32-year-old visibly emotional.

Brave arguably have the strongest squad in the women’s competition but once again it was the Invincibles who came out on top.

A team performance with the ball

The Invincibles’ impressive bowling performance was a real team effort. Brave’s opening pair reached 33-0 before the fiery Ismail clung onto an excellent sprawling catch to dismiss Danni Wyatt for 15.

Ismail is known around the world as one of the women’s games fastest bowlers but the next wicket came from 17-year-old Sophia Smale – a player few were aware of just three weeks ago.

Smale, playing in the Hundred as a late injury replacement in her holidays between Year 12 and 13 at college, has been one of the breakout stars of this year’s competition.

The left-arm spinner has made a habit of dismissing big-name batters and added the scalp of India international Smriti Mandhana caught and bowled, before following a pumped-up celebration with a wave to her grandad Malcolm in the stands.

“The reason she got into cricket is her grandad,” England captain Heather Knight said on BBC radio. “The fact her grandad was going to be here was really special for her.”

In making her name in The Hundred, Newport-born Smale is following in the footsteps of team-mate Capsey who starred as a 16-year-old last year.

Now 18 and an England international, Capsey claimed the crucial wicket Sophia Dunkley, just as her England team-mate was starting to motor, and added the scalp of Georgia Adams two balls later before her important role with the bat.

Brave come up short again

Brave had been in a similarly tense eliminator on Friday when they qualified for the final despite Nat Sciver’s fireworks for the Trent Rockets.

Their squad is packed with international talent but, as they did last year when being bowled out for 73, failed to bring their best on the biggest occasion.

Capsey was dropped twice and crucially the Brave also leaked five wides and four byes in a low-scoring match.