George Garton and Tymal Mills gave the England selectors a reminder ahead of the T20 World Cup by taking three wickets apiece as the Southern Brave eased into the inaugural men's final of the Hundred at Lord's on Saturday with a comfortable eliminator win over Trent Rockets. With Jofra Archer already out of the T20 World Cup due to an elbow injury that will sideline him for the rest of this year, England are on the lookout for white-ball quicks to take his place.
Garton, a 24-year-old left-armer, showed what he was capable of on Friday by taking the key wickets of Dawid Malan, Alex Hales and D'Arcy Short as the Rockets lurched to 31-4 in the 25-ball powerplay at the Oval. His figures of 3-18 were backed up by a return of 3-8 from Mills, previously mentioned as a T20 World Cup bolter by England captain Eoin Morgan, as the Rockets were bowled out for 96.
It was a total the Brave had few problems in surpassing, with James Vince making 45 not out in a seven-wicket win as the England batsman continued his run of good form.
Victory meant the Brave will contest both finals of the Hundred, English cricket's new 100 balls per side competition, with their women up against the Oval Invincibles at Lord's on Saturday before the men face the Birmingham Phoenix later in the day at the 'home of cricket'.
Tash Farrant said she felt "quite emotional" after her return of four wickets for just 10 runs helped the Invincibles women reach the final. Farrant was not in the squad when England won the 2017 Women's World Cup and instead watched the final from among the crowd at Lord's. But the now 25-year-old can look forward to being involved in a showpiece match at the 'home of cricket' against the Southern Brave after her starring role in Friday's eliminator.
The Invincibles were held to a seemingly below-par total of 114-7 on their Oval home ground, with South Africa's Marizanne Kapp top-scoring with 37. The Phoenix looked to be on course to join their men's team in the final only to collapse from 81-4 to 94 all out, with left-arm seamer Farrant returning the best bowling figures so far in the 100 balls per side tournament. "I felt quite emotional actually after the game knowing that I'm going to get to play a final at Lord's," said Farrant who has appeared in three one-day internationals and 15 T20s for England.
"I was actually there watching that day in the crowd (World Cup) and I knew that it was somewhere I wanted to be and somewhere I wanted to play on the big stage. Obviously we've already played at Lord's in the Hundred and I just know the atmosphere's going to be electric tomorrow (Saturday)."
After the Phoenix lost both openers without scoring, captain Amy Jones (35) and Erin Burns (23) got them back on course with a third-wicket stand worth 52. Farrant, however, took a stunning catch to dismiss Burns off the bowling of Kapp, before taking the wicket of England wicketkeeper Jones in her role as a bowler just one ball later.