Quinton de Kock plays his statement knock as Brave march up the standings
Expert death bowling from Mills, Jordan restricts Superchargers at Ageas Bowl
Southern Brave 131 for 5 (de Kock 71*) beat Northern Superchargers 128 for 6 (Vilas 35*) by five wickets
Quinton de Kock
's calculated assault on Northern Superchargers' spinners led Southern Brave to their third win of the men's Hundred and propelled them into second place. Chasing a target of 129 on a used hybrid pitch, de Kock started brightly and then led a cruise to victory, finishing unbeaten on 72 as Brave won by five wickets.
Superchargers never got going with the bat, though briefly threatened to defend their total with Adil Rashid
and Adam Lyth
both taking two wickets. They suffered a brief stutter in the middle of the innings, losing three for six runs, but with de Kock somewhere near his best, they were never in any trouble.
De Kock proves quality
De Kock came into the Hundred as one of the last world-class recruits standing, among only a handful of men's overseas players not to have played in the T20 Blast at some stage of his career. He had teed off at the top of the order without pressing on, hitting 51 runs from 25 balls before this innings, while being dismissed three times in the process, so his 72 not out felt like a statement innings as he took down Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
With a low total to defend, David Willey was forced to play his trump card early by bringing Mujeeb into the attack to bowl the third set of five balls, but de Kock opted to attack with the field up. He reverse-swept the first two balls he faced from Mujeeb for four, putting on 36 in 21 balls for the first wicket alongside Paul Stirling
to break the back of the chase early on.
De Kock benefited from two misfields as Superchargers' boundary-riders struggled with a greasy outfield and a wet ball, but his ability to rotate the strike was particularly impressive: he hit 27 runs off the 12 balls he faced from Mujeeb in all, scoring from all 12 of them. He also milked Adil Rashid
- who became the tournament's leading wicket-taker, bowling James Vince with a wicked googly and having Alex Davies stumped off a legbreak - and despite Brave's late wobble, victory was never in doubt with him at the crease. He was, in Vince's words, "a class apart".
Southern spin squeeze
Southern Brave were without arguably their best spinner in Liam Dawson, who broke a finger when Phil Salt thumped a ball back at him during Thursday's washout in Manchester, but still bowled 50 balls of spin, exploiting home conditions - long boundaries and a used hybrid pitch - to their advantage.
Lintott and Briggs - brought back in to cover for Dawson's absence - both conceded early boundaries, but made vital breakthroughs in the middle of the innings as Superchargers lost 3 for 11 in 16 balls: Briggs' arm ball pegged back Willey's off stump, Lintott had the in-form Harry Brook caught at long-on, and John Simpson reverse-swept a juicy full toss from Briggs to Davies at deep point.
Jordan, Mills close out
With Jofra Archer ruled out of the tournament through injury, it is quite possible that Mills and Jordan will end up bowling in tandem at the death for England in October's T20 World Cup, and they have impressed in those roles for Brave over the last week. They closed out a four-run win at Lord's last Sunday, and conceded two boundaries between them in 35 balls against Superchargers.
Dane Vilas' battling 35 not out was the only innings of note for Superchargers, who failed to hit a boundary in their final 13 balls as Jordan and Mills dipped into their bags of tricks. With George Garton knocking back Lyth's leg stump with the first ball of the match, Brave proved they still have a fearsome attack despite Archer's injury.
Credit should also go to Vince, whose captaincy has improved through the competition. By back-loading Jordan and Mills' allocations, he forced Superchargers to take risks against the spinners through the middle of the innings - and had the conviction in his decision-making to give Jordan only 15 out of his 20 balls.
Brave embrace Jayawardene's style
Mahela Jayawardene's Mumbai Indians have a habit of starting seasons slowly - they have lost their opening match for the last nine editions of the IPL - before clicking into gear and flying towards the knockout stages. His Brave side have done the same, losing their first two games but winning three of their next four with one no-result, and with two home fixtures to come, they look well-placed to live up to their billing as the pre-tournament favourites.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98