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Match Analysis

Georgia Adams proves worth again for Southern Brave to set up clash with old side

A winner with Oval Invincibles last year, she has quietly proved a key cog since joining Brave

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Georgia Adams claimed vital wickets, after top-scoring in Brave's innings  •  Getty Images

Georgia Adams claimed vital wickets, after top-scoring in Brave's innings  •  Getty Images

Southern Brave's women have never lost a game at the Ageas Bowl and they set up a rematch of the 2021 final against Oval Invincibles by sneaking past Trent Rockets in Friday's eliminator, defending 134 despite Nat Sciver's late flurry of sixes in her valiant, unbeaten innings of 72.
It remains to be seen if the ECB have any intention to rename Saturday's showpiece at Lord's, but they could do worse than labelling it the Georgia Adams derby. Adams' performance on Friday underlined the fact that she has been the bargain buy of the Hundred's off-season after winning the competition with Invincibles last year.
Invincibles used Adams as a specialist batter but despite finishing the season with a winner's medal, she struggled to make an impact at the top of the order: she averaged 16.62 across her nine innings with a strike rate of 105.55. She was deemed surplus to requirements with the ball too, not bowling a single delivery across the season.
Charlotte Edwards, her coach at Southern Vipers, sensed the chance to bring her back to her home ground and offered her a contract at Brave during the off-season. She was a snip at £12,500, the fifth-highest salary band available, but has been a key addition to a Brave side looking to go one better than they did last season.
Adams has been used in the middle order by Brave, backed to add power at the death in a long batting line-up that is significantly deeper than most in the competition, with Amanda-Jade Wellington carded at No. 8. "She's been a really key signing for us," Edwards said.
On Friday, she turned the eliminator in Brave's favour: first with the bat, and then the ball. She walked through the Hundred's novelty tunnel earlier than usual, striding out at No. 6 after 57 balls with Brave 66 for 4 and still struggling after a slow start, but her 38 off 24 was enough to lift them to a defendable total.
It was a classic finisher's innings. Adams started by hitting the ball out to boundary-riders, accumulating singles and playing second fiddle to Maia Bouchier, but at 13 off 14, she decided it was time to put her foot down.
Sciver was slashed past short third for four, Alana King disappeared back over her head and Bryony Smith was twice swung into the leg side. She fell to the final ball of the innings, heaving Smith to deep midwicket but had given Brave a crucial lift.
"Her ability at the back end to not only find the rope, but clear the rope, was pretty special to watch," Tahlia McGrath said. "She's been awesome for us all tournament, playing little cameos with bat and ball. She does her job every game, keeps it really simple and is really effective."
Her success with the ball has been one of the tournament's more unlikely stories but after going unused last season, she has bowled 26 sets this season, taking 6 wickets and conceding just 1.09 runs a ball.
She has been thrown into the deep end, too, regularly bowling in the powerplay, and admitted on the player mic during the eliminator that she was surprised to have been called upon as much as she had.
Edwards has encouraged her to work on her bowling at Vipers and with Charlie Dean absent on international duty increasingly often, she has been used more and more. "We're rolling with it," she said. "I'm limited in my options but I just try and bowl at the stumps. I leave the rest to Anya [Shrubsole] and hope for the best."
She talked through her strikingly simple plans as she bowled her first set: "full to Smith, try to get her to hit me down the ground; [Elyse] Villani, into the deck, get hit square." Smith was yorked, trying to reverse-sweep and Marie Kelly lofted to long-on, as Adams finished with 2 for 15 from her 15 balls.
Her spell was enough to put Brave in the box seat, to the extent that they managed to cling on despite Sciver's late assault on McGrath. "We're really pleased for her [McGrath]," Adams told the BBC. "Her confidence was low so for her to go in and do what she did today was brilliant."
Now, she will have the chance to become the first player to feature in two different winning sides in Hundred finals, against her old side. Brave may have to cope without Smriti Mandhana, who strained her calf and did not field, but will be able to bring Molly Strano in off the bench.
"We can't wait," Adams said. "It should be a magnificent occasion. We've played some fantastic cricket this tournament but we don't feel like we've played our best yet. Hopefully tomorrow we can pull it all together and lift the trophy."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98