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The Hundred 2023: Sophia Dunkley’s All-round Show Helps Welsh Fire Advance To The Play-offs

As Welsh Fire competed for the Hundred 2023 finals weekend for the first time, England’s Sophia Dunkley spearheaded the way with 68 and 2 for 15 against London Spirit. The team that did not win a single match last year and only two the year before is now guaranteed at least a spot in the Kia Oval eliminator, while they have one game left to vie for a place in the rankings and advance directly to the Lord’s Final.

It was also a record crowd for a Women’s Hundred game in Cardiff, with 7,069 people watching the host team reach 161, a number that no team has surpassed in this year’s championship save Welsh Fire.

London Spirit entered the game knowing their own qualification prospects were over, but a 68-run partnership between Heather Knight and Richa Ghosh, who each hit 34, offered them a glimmer of hope before the last wickets fell under pressure. They finished with a score of 138-7.

If Southern Brave do not win their final game against Manchester Originals, Welsh Fire will face Northern Superchargers in a straight playoff for the chance to finish first. Beaumont was coming off a record-breaking 118 last time out, and she looked to start up right where she left off, collecting 20 off the first 10 balls delivered by Danielle Gibson and Sarah Glenn when Spirit elected to bowl first in The Hundred 2023.

Dunkley joined the attack as the home team’s 25-ball powerplay produced 53 runs.
After 50 balls, Spirit captain Heather Knight moved to her seventh bowler, Sophie Munro, who widened with a loopy, in-swinging slower delivery that clean-bowled Beaumont in The Hundred 2023.

When Laura Harris tried for a drive and edged beyond Richa Ghosh, it was better to follow the next ball. She went over the decision again, but the extreme edge indicated a small contact and she had to go first ball, leaving Munro with a hat-trick.

Hayley Matthews blasted the ball over backward point for four runs, bringing the West Indian back into the side following a shoulder injury. Dunkley and Matthew hit the century in 64 balls. Dunkley also reached his personal milestone of a half-century from 35 balls before being dropped for 68 off 48.

In the last stages, Matthews struck a crucial 36. Bryce struck her first ball for six, which Danielle Gibson touched over the deep midwicket boundary, the first six of the innings with only three balls remaining in The Hundred 2023.

Gibson made quick work of the boundary, blasting two sixes in her first flurry before being dismissed LBW by Shabnim Ismail for 18 off seven balls. Beaumont’s superb catch at extra cover off Claire Nicholas’ bowling quickly followed Amelia Kerr.

Before Ghosh and Knight put up 68 runs in 52 balls, Grace Harris went LBW to Ismail. Matthews caught Ghosh while attempting to reverse sweep Dunkley. Soon after, the key wicket of Knight fell, an inside edge onto the pad followed by the stumps from Dunkley in The Hundred 2023.

The Hundred 2023: Welsh Fire vs London Spirit Brief Scores

Welsh Fire 161/4 in 100 balls (Sophia Dunkley 68, Tammy Beaumont 40, Hayley Matthews 36; Sophie Munro 2-24) beat London Spirit 138/7 in 100 balls (Richa Ghosh 34, Heather Knight 34; Sophia Dunkley 2-15, shabnim Ismail 2-26) by 23 runs.

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