Southern Brave smack Welsh Fire for second time in this season's Hundred

Southern Brave claimed another nine-wicket victory over Welsh Fire at Sophia Gardens with a tournament-high partnership between Paul Stirling (74) and Quinton de Kock (37) steering them to glory.

Stirling, who was called into the side for the first time this summer to replace Marcus Stoinis, took up where he left off in last season's Hundred by joining Quinton de Kock in a first-wicket run fest.

He notched the highest individual score for the Brave and joined De Kock in a tournament-high partnership of 121 for the first wicket - just three short of the Hundred record for any wicket.

The home side were seeking their first win of the campaign after four straight defeats and also had revenge in mind having been beaten by nine wickets by the reigning champions in their opening game.

But George Garton dismissed three Fire batters in his opening 10 balls, leaving the home side shellshocked at one for three and they could only post 129 for eight.

Despite a 20-minute break for rain when they batted, the Braves did not hang around in their chase as they condemned the Fire to a fifth successive defeat.

Stirling started at breakneck speed with two boundaries off David Payne and the Brave were 18 off 10 balls when the teams went off for the rain break.

He then punished George Scrimshaw with four successive fours when the game resumed and the visitors had 40 on the board from the powerplay and brought up their 50 off 63 balls.

Stirling then hit Payne for successive sixes to reach his half-century.

The only blot for the visitors was the loss of De Kock for 37 with nine runs left to win. They were added within four more balls to see the Brave home with 18 balls to spare.

James Vince won the toss and had no hesitation in inserting the Fire on a greasy wicket and with a heavy cloud covering overhead.

Garton opened the bowling and produced a fine 10-ball spell, sending back three batters for only one run.

First to go was James Bethell, caught at the wicket off the second ball for a golden duck. James Cobb also went for a duck and then Ben Duckett fell to a diving catch behind the wicket by De Kock.

Joe Clarke and David Miller dug in and Miller had the honour of striking the first boundary off the 19th ball.

Miller was the fourth man out when he was clean bowled by James Fuller for 15 and Clarke followed after a calamitous run-out with Leus du Plooy for 17.

Du Plooy hit three boundaries in his 37 and fellow South African Dwaine Pretorius chipped in with 15 off seven balls.

He struck a six to take his side past the lowest total in the tournament, 87, and then hit a four to take his side past their own previous lowest total, 91.

Matt Critchley made hay off the last set of five from Michael Hogan, launching the last two balls for sixes to take his total to 32, but it was not enough to end the Fire's losing run.

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