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The Hundred 2023 Women's review: Brave finally crowned champions

On Sunday the third edition of the Women's Hundred drew to a close as Southern Brave defeated Northern Superchargers by 34 runs at Lord's.

The final drew a crowd of more than 21,000 - a figure higher than any attendance at the Women's Ashes over the summer - and the short-format competition once again offered up weeks of big hitting, clinical bowling and top-quality work in the field.

Here is a review of the 2023 Women's Hundred.

Third time lucky for Southern Brave

In each of the first two seasons of the Women's Hundred, Southern Brave lost to Oval Invincibles in the final but they finally bucked the trend at the weekend to land their first title.

They were the standout women's side all month long, winning seven of their eight matches in the regular season before victory over the Superchargers on Sunday.

It was a nervy final for Brave, who recovered from a score of 8-2 to reach 139-6 courtesy of a knock of 59 from opener Danni Wyatt, who finished the season as the competition's top runscorer on 295 runs, edging Tammy Beaumont by five.

The early dismissal of Marie Kelly helped Brave in their defence and the Superchargers could post only 105 before being bowled out with six balls to spare.

As well as Wyatt finishing as top scorer, Brave also had the division's top wicket-taker as off-spinner Georgia Adams finished with 16 scalps.

The Invincibles have been the nemeses of Brave for the last two seasons but they were nowhere to be seen this time around, knocked out in the group stage with only three wins to their name.

Shrubsole bows out with title win

Not only did Sunday see Southern Brave claim their first Women's Hundred title but it also marked an end to the career of team captain Anya Shrubsole.

In her final game as a professional, the pace bowler took 1-18, dismissing Alice Davidson-Richards, to bow out by lifting the trophy.

She is now set to follow in the footsteps of both Katherine Sciver-Brunt and Alex Hartley and retire, but Brave look in good hands going forwards with Charlotte Edwards, who previously won the Women's Premier League with Mumbai Indians, overseeing things.

Impressive resurgence from Welsh Fire

It was Northern Superchargers who featured in the final of the Women's Hundred this year - an impressive feat given they had not previously finished higher than fifth in the table.

Kate Cross turned out to be a terrific draft pick at the start of the year and made her mark in the final against Brave with figures of 3-21, while Phoebe Litchfield was a superb replacement for Alyssa Healy.

Brave's experience was the difference in the end and it is fair to say the Superchargers were fortunate to be in Sunday's final in the first place.

The Superchargers reached the showpiece event due to their second-place finish in the regular standings after their eliminator clash with Welsh Fire was washed out on Saturday.

Welsh Fire had been going pretty well in the match, reaching 104-2 off 75 balls and they won five of their seven completed matches earlier in the season.

It will have hurt not to have made the final but their performance represents an incredible turnaround given the team finished rock bottom of the standings in 2022 with eight defeats from eight matches.

Beaumont enjoyed a terrific campaign at the top of the Fire order, blasting 290 runs in eight innings, while the signing of Sophia Dunkley from Southern Brave also proved to be an inspired move as she scored 262 runs in the competition.

Phoenix rank as biggest underperformers

It was Birmingham Phoenix who finished with the wooden spoon in the Women's Hundred this year, finishing eighth in the standings with seven defeats and one no result from their eight assignments.

Their season ended on a whimper last Thursday as they were bowled out for just 99 in a chastening 73-run loss to London Spirit and there is plenty of work to do in the draft before the 2024 campaign.

The resurgence of Welsh Fire should act as a blueprint and Phoenix will want to add more attacking firepower to the side after only two players - Sophie Devine (191) and Amy Jones (163) surpassed 100 runs for them in the competition.

Both London Spirit and Manchester Originals also endured tough campaigns, finishing sixth and seventh respectively, while two-time defending champions Oval Invincibles missed out on a place in the play-offs for the first time after placing fifth.

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