James Vince stars as Southern Brave hammer Welsh Fire in Hundred opener

James Vince continued his brilliant white-ball form as the Southern Brave began their defense of the Hundred with a nine-wick hammer from the Welsh Fire.

Brave captain Vince was Vitality Blast’s top scorer with 678 runs and started the second edition of the Hundred with 71 of 41, with opening partner Alex Davies hitting 26 complementary.

Earlier, Fire captain Ben Duckett hit 40 of 31 pitches, with the next highest score just 11, as Fire struggled to stay under par 107 by seven on its 100 balls.

Craig Overton dominated the first order with two for 21 before Chris Jordan took two for 16 before Vince, Davies and Marcus Stoinis were all the hitters needed to finish the job with 31 balls to spare.

James Vince starred in Southern Brave (Adam Davy/PA)

Vince was coming off a brilliant Vitality Blast campaign with Hampshire – where he also captained his county to a third title.

It was imperative not to miss the opportunity to fire him early. Unfortunately, Ryan Higgins missed his chance and left Vince on edge with the fifth ball.

A pair of limits through the midwicket and point quickly pronounced the error, as Davies landed straight fours on David Payne – the second an impressive straight.

Davies hit a short delivery from Higgins to drop with 36 runs needed on 51 balls, while Vince quickly cut firmly to extend his half century to 31 balls.

He waited until he was 55 years old before sweeping his first six before Brave quickly snatched victory to maintain his perfect Ageas Bowl record – Vince surpassing his best of 60 in 2021.

Craig Overton

Craig Overton took two wickets (Adam Davy/PA)

Earlier, Brave won the coin toss, decided to shoot and reduced Fire’s max order to 31 for three on 25-ball powerplay after a spectacular firework display delayed proceedings.

The Brave were without the fast Jofra Archer, Tymal Mills and George Garton for various injuries and illness-related issues, but it mattered little thanks to their depth.

Overton had Joe Clarke struggling to miss to cover a four-ball duck and Tom Banton kicking it to a deep square leg, with 41-year-old Michael Hogan bowling Ollie Pope – who missed a reverse sweep.

Duckett and Sam Hain placed 25, the highest position of the innings, but the wickets continued to fall regularly.

Ben Duckett

Ben Duckett was the top scorer for the Welsh Fire (Adam Davy/PA)

Jake Lintott swung his way forward and his googly glove tickled Hain’s glove with his second ball, while 17-year-old leg spinner Rehan Ahmed and James Fuller analysis while wicketless went on a run-a-ball.

Fuller put the finishing touches on a chaotic race to see Josh Cobb die and Quinton de Kock’s replacement easily hold Higgins at the edge of the square.

Southpaw Duckett held things back, although he survived a run and missed the catch, but dominated on the sweep as all five of his limits were behind the wicket.

He shot Jordan into midfield before seeing Afghan teenager Noor Ahmad jab in the first and only of six innings, though it was never enough.

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