The Heat Is Turned Down On Welsh Fire As Southern Brave Win In Cardiff

The crowds are surging in to see Welsh Fire, but both the men’s and women’s teams suffered a frustrating weekend.

A record crowd in Cardiff for a women’s cricket match – 6,500 – saw the Fire just edged out as they lost to Southern Brave on the final ball, by two wickets.

Captain Anya Shrubsole kept her nerve to get a leg bye off the final ball from Shabnim Ismail as Brave chased down the Welsh Fire total of 144-5, Brave finishing on 145-8.

Welsh Fire’s queens of entertainment have been on the right side of some thrilling finishes, including an earlier four-run victory over the Brave, but this was a first defeat in this year’s competition.

Sophia Dunkley hit a half-century for Fire, with Sarah Bryce an unbeaten 44.

However, Maia Bouchier, 42, and Smriti Mandhana, 41, laid the foundation for Brave to eventually creep over the line.

Southern Brave’s Georgia Adams said: “I’m on a bit of an adrenaline comedown, we’ve had a few nail-biters, so it was great to get over the line like that.

“To restrict them to that score was pretty impressive.”

Welsh Fire men’s team had the flames turned down as they lost by nine wickets to Southern Brave, with the home side skittled out at Sophia Gardens for just 87.

Brave romped to a comfortable win, with the bowlers setting the tone – especially Tymal Mills who took only the second hat-trick in the Men’s Hundred.

That came off the final three balls of the Welsh Fire innings as they fell to 87 all out, the pattern started with returning England star Jonny Bairstow falling early for a four-ball duck.

Craig Overton took two early wickets for Brave, including Bairstow, while George Garton took 3 for 8 off 15 balls through the middle of the innings to block any momentum for the home side, Mills finishing with four wickets in all.

Stephen Eskinazi’s 38 was the only bright spot in a total easily chased down by Southern Brave.

Finn Allen scored a quick 31 before Devon Conway, 35 not out, and Leus du Plooy, 17 not out, saw them through to victory with 41 balls spare.

Welsh Fire batter Stevie Eskinazi said: “They bowled really nicely. It was a tough night, but we will move on quickly.

“It’s tricky, we played on a pretty good surface last week. We have to dust ourselves off pretty quickly and move on.

“It’s about bringing our A-game, we’ve got some dangerous cricketers.”