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Southern Brave crowned the Hundred champions

Southern Brave beat Birmingham Phoenix by 32 runs to win the first-ever men’s Hundred championship in an action-packed final at Lords.

With a target of 169, Phoenix started strong with Liam Livingstone scoring 46 runs off 19 balls. His effortless strokes got the Lord’s crowd going before the game had a complete turn of events.

Despite being brought into the team only last week, Tim David was the catalyst for Southern Brave’s change of fortunes.

He ran out Livingstone through a direct hit from 60m, as the right-handed batsman fell inches short of the crease.

At that moment, Birmingham still required 99 runs off 55 balls, with a required run rate of around 11 runs per over.

However, Southern Brave’s bowlers rose to the occasion as their effective death bowling ensured that they closed the game out effectively. 

The death-bowling was so immaculate that the winning margin doesn’t look as close as it seems. Jake Lintott, a Teacher-turned-Hundred star got the dismissal of Moeen Ali as the veteran scored 36 runs off 30 balls. 

Earlier on, Southern Brave, batting first, were aggressive right from the start. Paul Stirling, an Irish cricketer, and Ross Whiteley made a combined 105 runs off 57 balls to set a score of 168-5. 

In the trophy ceremony, the Oval Invincibles, women’s champions of the event, joined the winning celebrations with their trophy.  

Turning point of the game

If you look at the 33-run margin, you will feel that it was a comprehensive win.

However, things could have been so much different if not for the runout of Liam Livingstone.

The right-handed batsman had the crowd on his feet due to his massive sixes and exquisite shot-making.

Moreover, he was calculating the runs per ball as the Birmingham Phoenix were ahead of Southern Braves in the run rate department.

Tim David’s moment of genius completely turned the match around as his direct hit made Southern Brave on the brink of victory, as the run rate continued to climb.

Most importantly, David was the unlikeliest of Southern Brave’s heroes as their captain had integrated him just a week before the final.

He made his debut in the Friday eliminator as a replacement for Colin de Grandhomme, who decided to fly back home before the final.

The 25-year old, who had also taken a superb catch earlier on in the match, showed his acrobatic skills to catch Livingstone off-guard, before throwing the ball directly onto the stumps.

Every Brave’s team member surrounded David in jubilation. On the other hand, Livingstone was distraught. Michael Vaughan, former England Captain, claimed that the match was over once Livingstone was back in the pavilion. 

Raining boundaries

There were worrying signs earlier on in the day as there were chances of heavy showers, which may result in a washout.

Even though the match did not have its climax in the final over, it still was an entertaining affair.

The match had 22 sixes, with some excellent death-bowling and fielding.

Even though some people still argue about the format of the tournament and its participants, we can say that it had a fantastic ending with two deserved winners standing at the podium. 

With this much drama happening in the inaugural season of the Hundred, it’s interesting to see how the next campaign will unfold in England.

Southern Brave 168 for 5 (Stirling 61, Whiteley 44*) beat Birmingham Phoenix 136 for 5 (Livingstone 46, Mills 1-13) by 32 runs

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