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The Hundred 2023 Women's Final preview: Brave hoping experience will count

There will be a new name etched on the Women's Hundred trophy on Sunday when Southern Brave do battle with Northern Superchargers at Lord's in the showpiece.

The Brave had already booked their place in the final after finishing top of the table in the group stages, having won seven of their eight games.

The Superchargers and Welsh Fire were left to fight through Saturday's eliminator at the Oval, but when that was abandoned due to heavy rain, the former progressed to Lord's by virtue of the fact that they finished higher in the group stage.

The Superchargers had in fact beaten the Welsh side in the final group game on Tuesday to go above them in the table, and they are now preparing to contest the final on Sunday.

The Brave have been installed as the 4/5 favourites to come out on top at Lord's, with the Superchargers priced at 1/1.

WhatSouthern Brave Women v Northern Superchargers Women
WhereLord's, London
When14:15, Sunday 27th August
How to watchBBC Two, Sky Sports Cricket, Mix & Showcase
OddsSouthern Brave Women 4/5, Northern Superchargers Women 1/1

Brave hoping third time is a charm

Sunday's final represents something of the old and the new in the women's Hundred with Southern Brave returning for a third consecutive appearance in the final, having been the benchmark in all three seasons of the Hundred. 

The Brave lost only one group game to top the standings in the inaugural season in 2021, while they once again suffered a solitary defeat in 2022, only finishing second on net run rate. 

They have of course gone through the group stages again with only one reverse this season, and will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky after going down to Oval Invincibles in the first two finals. 

The Invincibles will not be standing in their way this time as it is the Superchargers who are looking to strike on Sunday, having passed through the group stages for the first time in their history. 

The Superchargers won only three of their eight group games in 2021 to finish sixth, and although they were better last year with three wins out of six, that was still only good enough to end the group stages in fifth. 

This season has seen a marked improvement as they have emerged victorious in six of their eight group matches, although it is worth noting that one of the two defeats inflicted upon them was by the Brave.

Litchfield the Superchargers leading light

Hollie Armitage's side has managed to thrive this season despite what could have been a potentially devastating blow of seeing Alyssa Healy ruled out through injury. 

The Australian ace's replacement, compatriot Phoebe Lichefield, though has played a starring role to lead the Superchargers this far. 

The right-handed batter ended the group stages as the leading runscorer with 266, coming at an average of 38.00, although that was passed in the washed out eliminator as Tammy Beaumont's unbeaten 37 saw her aggregate climb to 290. 

There is little surprise to see Litchfield heading the betting to finish as the Superchargers' Top Batter at 2/1, particularly as she has scored 90 more runs than her nearest challenger. 

Marie Kelly is second in her side's runscoring charts and appears to offer a little more value to score the most runs for the Superchargers at 15/4, than her opening partner - 13/5 chance Jemimah Rodrigues - having scored 49 more runs so far, while she also hit the highest score in the defeat to the Brave at the start of the month.

Brave strength in depth

A big problem for the Superchargers is that the Brave appear to have a greater and more consistent strength at the top of their batting order as they occupy three of the top five places in the tournament's runscoring charts. 

Maia Bouchier leads the way for her side with 264, with Danni Wyatt and Smriti Mandhana not too far behind with 236 and 234 respectively. 

Potentially that creates a problem in deciding which player may come out on top, but the fact that Bouchier is priced at 7/2 with an average of 44.0 coming in at three is well worth considering, with Mandhana the favourite at 2/1 and fellow opener Wyatt at 5/2

Bouchier also top-scored in the five-wicket win over the Superchargers on August 6th perhaps offers a little more temptation. 

The Brave also have the tournament's leading wicket-taker in their ranks with Georgia Adams having taken 16 scalps so far, five clear of the rest. 

The England spinner is 3/1 to finish as the Brave's Top Bowler, 6/1 the Top Batter and 7/1 to be the Match Hero.

There is little doubt that the Brave have the tools to come out on top in this contest, but they have been here twice before and failed to deliver the goods on the biggest stage.

Experience can count for a lot but pressure makes players react in different ways, and we will see on Sunday which of the old hands or new kids on the block handle the occasion the best.

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