Jonny Bairstow makes a key contribution for the Welsh Fire in their win over Southern Brave. Pic: Getty Images.

Jonny Bairstow Stars Again As Welsh Fire Win Back To Back Games In The Hundred

By Alex Bywater

Jonny Bairstow signed off from Welsh Fire duty with a second match-winning knock and his team-mates are confident they can cope without the England star.

Fire’s men’s captain Bairstow struck a superb 72 from just 39 balls to help his team to an 18-run win over Southern Brave which means the Welsh side now have back-to-back victories.

But they will now have to do without Bairstow for the rest of The Hundred as he has now left to be part of England’s Test squad for their series with India.

“It’s been amazing to play in The Hundred and I love to play at Cardiff,” Bairstow said. “The fans are passionate and I want to say thanks to them. It doesn’t matter how we win, just that we win.”

Bairstow shared a 116-run partnership with Ben Duckett who hit 53 from 34 balls in Fire’s imposing total of 165 for four from their 100 balls.

New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham in action for the Welsh Fire. Pic: Getty Images.

Brave didn’t get close as New Zealand bowler Jimmy Neesham claimed three wickets for just five runs from 15 deliveries.

“Jimmy bowled a game-changing spell and that’s why he is over here. Last time he got 30 off 10 balls and this time it was wickets,” said Bairstow.

“It’s tough at the top when you have high-quality players coming at you. The way our boys bowled with a lack of pace suited the pitch better. Utilising that was key.”

Neesham is a leading candidate to captain Welsh Fire against Manchester Originals in Cardiff on Saturday as the men’s team will look to make it three wins from three.

“Jonny is going to be a huge miss, but we’ve got a lot of batting and someone is going to have to come in, step up, and take on that role,” said Duckett.

“I’m sure we’ve got the players to come in and cover for him. It’s been nice to go out and perform twice with the bat. Jonny has been superb up top with Tom Banton and it’s important you get off to a good start. The partnership Jonny and I had got us to a score which we knew was over par.

“The bowlers were superb then. It’s obviously important to start well. We are all learning with this slightly new format. It’s very hectic but to get two wins is obviously a great start.”

Crowds for Hundred matches at Sophia Gardens are limited by Welsh Government Covid-19 regulations with the Fire teams set to play their second home games on Saturday.

Both the women’s and men’s sides face Manchester Originals with start times of 11am and 2.30pm respectively. A crowd of 5,300 is expected.

Welsh Fire women’s side suffered a second defeat from their two matches as they were beaten by the Brave by eight wickets on Tuesday. They will hope to seal their first win against the Originals.

Captain Sophie Luff said: “We haven’t got enough runs in our first two games. That has put our bowlers under pressure and made us work really hard with the ball.

“It is obviously disappointing but we have only played two games and we are learning all the time.

“Hopefully we can really bounce back from our first two games and take some good learnings into Saturday.”

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