Recent Match Report – Fire vs Brave 22nd Match 2022

Southern Brave 132 for 1 (Stirling 74*, de Kock 37) beat Welsh Fire 129 for 8 (du Plooy 37, Critchley 32*) by nine wickets

Paul Stirling proved he has lost none of his firepower as he guided Southern Brave to another nine-wicket victory over Welsh Fire at Sophia Gardens.

The Ireland opener won the match award in the inaugural final last year and picked up where he left off, joining Quinton de Kock in a first-wicket run-fest in his first appearance of the season after international duty. He is a replacement for Marcus Stoinis, who has left to play in Australia’s ODI series against Zimbabwe.

He notched a record individual score for Brave with an unbeaten knock of 74 off 42 balls and joined de Kock in a season-high partnership of 121 for the first wicket – just three short of the best for any wicket in the Hundred of 124 by D’Arcy Short and Dawid Malan for Trent Rockets against Brave last season.

After George Garton had blasted out three top-order Fire batters in his opening seven balls to leave the home side shell-shocked at 1 for 3, the reigning champions restricted their hosts to 129 for 8 from their 100 balls.

Despite a 20-minute break for rain when they batted, Brave didn’t hang around in their chase as they condemned Fire to a fifth successive defeat to leave them pointless. Stirling started at breakneck speed with two boundaries off David Payne and Brave were 18 off 10 balls when the teams went off for the rain break.

He then punished George Scrimshaw, hitting him for four successive fours when the game resumed. The visitors had 40 on the board from the powerplay and brought up their 50 off 63 balls. Stirling then hit Payne for successive sixes to reach his half-century.

The only blot on Brave’s copybook was the loss of de Kock for 37 with nine runs left to win. They were added within four more balls to see Brave home with 18 balls to spare.

The home side were seeking their first win of the campaign after four straight defeats and also had revenge in mind having been beaten by nine wickets by the reigning champions in their opening game.

James Vince won the toss and had no hesitation in inserting Fire on a greasy wicket and with a heavy cloud covering overhead. Garton opened the bowling and produced one of the finest 10-ball spells in the history of the competition, sending back three batters for only one run.

First to go was Jacob Bethell, caught at the wicket off the second ball for a golden duck. Next up was skipper Josh Cobb, who also went for a duck, and then Ben Duckett fell to a diving catch behind the wicket by de Kock.

That reduced the Fire to 1 for 3 and they limped to a record-equaling lowest powerplay total of 17 off 25 balls.

Joe Clarke and David Miller dug in and Miller had the honour of striking the first boundary off the 19th ball. Miller was the fourth man out when he was clean bowled by James Fuller for 15 and Clarke followed after a calamitous run-out with Leus du Plooy for 17.

Du Plooy hit three boundaries in his 37 and his compatriot Dwaine Pretorius chipped in with 15 off seven balls. He struck a six to take his side past the lowest total in the tournament, 87, and then hit a four to take his side past their own previous lowest total, 91.

Matt Critchley made hay off the last set of five from Michael Hogan, launching the last two balls for sixes to take his total to 32 and carry the Fire to 129 for 8. It was nowhere near enough.