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The Hundred - Cricket: Southern Brave v London Spirit preview

Southern Brave Men will be looking to bounce back against London Spirit after suffering at the hands of a history-making Will Smeed at Edgbaston.

On Wednesday evening, Birmingham Phoenix youngster Smeed blasted the first-ever century recorded in the competition, smashing eight fours and six sixes as he made an unbeaten 101 from just 50 balls faced.

His efforts helped inflict a first defeat of the season on the defending champions the Brave, whose next test arrives on Friday when the Spirit head to the Ageas Bowl.

The same two franchises also meet in the Women's Hundred, with their match taking the afternoon slot before the men enjoy the early evening spotlight.

Brave eager to dampen visitors' Spirit

What:Southern Brave Men v London Spirit Men, The Hundred
Where:Ageas Bowl, Southampton
When:18:30, Friday 12th August 2022
How to watch:Sky Sports Cricket, Mix and Main Event
Odds:Southern Brave 8/11, London Spirit 11/10

James Vince's Brave will no doubt put much of the reason for their loss at Edgbaston down to the knock of Smeed, with the 62-run reverse seemingly decided largely by one player.

However, they know that they must respond by seeing off the Spirit, with an opening nine-wicket win over Welsh Fire counting for little as the Cardiff side appear to be the weakest in the competition.

There still looks to be not too much wrong with the Brave batting line-up, but they obviously have concerns over their bowling after being flayed to all parts by Smeed.

Left-arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott was one of the stars of the competition last summer, but has struggled in his two outings so far this season - conceding 60 runs from 40 balls bowled, taking just two wickets in the process.

Lintott finished with 11 wickers last season and will be eager to get back to his best on Friday evening - he is 15/4 to be top team bowler.

Meanwhile, the Brave batting could be improved by others stepping up when Vince occasionally fails, with more expected from South Afican left-hander Quinton de Kock.

He struggled for form in T20Is against both England and Ireland and made just 15 in the loss to the Phoenix and is 11/4 to be top team batter against the Spirit.

Spirit have started in style

The Brave certainly face a team in form on Friday, with the Spirit having won both of the games they have played so far this season, claiming a thrilling three-run victory over the Oval Invincibles, before sweeping aside the Manchester Originals by 52 runs.

The second of those successes saw West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard contribute 34 not out from a mere 11 balls faced, while both Glenn Maxwell and Eoin Morgan also showed promise of better things to come.

And the Spirit have to be taken very seriously after making 171-6 and 160-6 in their two innings to date, showing firepower that could be dangerous to a Smeed-shocked Brave attack.

With the ball Liam Dawson has been miserly with his left-arm spin, while seamer Jordan Thompson has started the campaign in superb fashion.

He has taken six wickets in two outings to be the joint leading bowler in the competition and he is 7/2 to be top team bowler in Southampton.

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Brave Women aiming to go one better

What:Southern Brave Women v London Spirit Women, The Hundred
Where:Ageas Bowl, Southampton
When:15:00, Friday 12th August 2022
How to watch:Sky Sports Cricket, Mix and Main Event
Odds:Southern Brave Women 4/6, London Spirit Women 6/5 

In the women's tournament the Brave will hope to go one better than last season, when they lost out in the final to the Oval Invincibles.

In their determination to do so they have largely stuck with the players who impressed in 2021, when both Sophia Dunkley and Danni Wyatt both topped the 200-run mark.

Australia leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington was also a shining star as she took 14 wickets while conceding at a rate of just under a run a ball and she is 3/1 to be top team bowler at the Ageas Bowl on Friday.

Young batter Maia Bouchier will also be keen to build on the promise she showed last season, striking at a rate in excess of 140 while not going on to make a major contribution.

Spirit out to succeed without Knight

The Spirit narrowly missed out on making the play-offs last summer and their hopes of doing better this season may have been dented by the loss of skipper Heather Knight to injury.

However, having signed up Australia pair Beth Mooney and Megan Schutt and also New Zealand leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, they appear to be a stronger outfit despite the absence of Knight.

Last season's meeting of these two sides at Lord's ended in a low-scoring three-wicket win for the visiting Brave, with Wellington named player of the match after taking 4-14 from her 20 balls bowled.

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