Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Hundred: Will retiring Anya Shrubsole lead Southern Brave to glory at scene of her greatest triumph? -Dlight News

It is rather fitting that Anya Shrubsole’s final game will take place where she had her greatest game.

Shrubsole will captain Southern Brave in Sunday’s Hundred final at Lord’s – six years on from bowling England to World Cup glory at that venue with stunning figures of 6-46 against India.

The ‘Home of Cricket’ has not been so kind to the retiring seam bowler over recent seasons, with Brave beaten by Oval Invincibles in both the 2021 and 2022 Hundred finals.

But Shrubsole’s side have the chance to make it third-time lucky when they take on Welsh Fire or Northern Superchargers in this year’s showpiece match – and the opportunity to give their skipper a trophy-winning send-off.

Anya Shrubsole (PA Images)
Shrubsole took five wickets in 19 balls to bowl England to victory in the 2017 World Cup final against India

It was in July 2017 that the bowler etched her name into the history books, claiming five wickets in 19 balls to win the 50-over World Cup for England just as they appeared on the brink of defeat.

India were 191-3 in the 43rd over chasing 229 for a maiden world title. The requirement 48 from 44 balls with seven wickets in hand. England’s hopes of a home triumph were slipping away.

However, Shrubsole then pinned Punam Raut lbw for 86 to spark the spell of her career. Veda Krishnamurthy caught at midwicket. Jhulan Goswami bowled. Deepti Sharma caught at midwicket. Rajeshwari Gayakwad bowled. England world champions for a fourth time.

Brave coach Charlotte Edwards now hopes skipper Shrubsole can “recreate some of that magic” at Lord’s. A win is the aim, fanfare for a retiring great is guaranteed.

Edwards told Sky Sports of Shrubsole, who has taken nine wickets so far this season: “Anya is not going to be able to bow out without a fuss, she knows that.

“She came into this competition knowing it was her last and I’m sure she had aspirations to be there at the Lord’s final.

“We all know there is going to be a fanfare for her on Sunday. She is ready for it and looking forward to it and hopefully she gets the ending she deserves. It would be wonderful for her.

“I know the team are desperately wanting to put in that last big performance for her and I think she has one last big performance left in her with the ball.

“There were a few doubts about her this summer but she just keeps stepping up and keeps performing. That’s what I admire most about her.

“She has led the team brilliantly and I hope she can recreate some of that magic she did in 2017.

“We have been such a dominant force in this format and I hope she gets the ending she deserves for all she has done for the game.”

Under Edwards’ coaching and Shrubsole’s captaincy, Brave have racked up 20 wins in 25 Hundred matches across the first three seasons – the best record of any of the men’s and women’s teams.

They are yet to win the trophy after being outgunned by Invincibles in 2021 and 2022 but will not have to face their “demon” side, to use Edwards’ word, this year, with the two-time champions only finishing fifth in the standings.

There will be no threepeat for Invincibles – but there could be a repeat of 2017 for Shrubsole.

The Hundred Live

Sunday 27th August 1:45pm

Brave are no one-woman team.

Danni Wyatt and Smriti Mandhana form arguably the best opening partnership in the competition; Maia Bouchier has topped 250 runs this term; Georgia Adams has bagged a tournament-high 16 wickets and Lauren Bell is Shrubsole’s heir apparent – a talented seam bowler who generates hooping in-swing and is set to lead the Brave and England attacks for years to come.

But Shrubsole will be the headline act on Sunday.

Watch the Hundred finals live on Sky Sports from 1.45pm on Sunday. The women’s final starts at 2.15pm with the men’s then under way from 6pm.

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