James Vince sparkles as Southern Brave claim dominant opening-night win

Defending champions strangle Welsh Fire innings, with Ben Duckett the only batter to pass 11

Southern Brave 109 for 1 (Vince 71*) beat Welsh Fire 107 for 7 (Duckett 40, Jordan 2-16) by nine wickets

James Vince continued his sublime white-ball form as Southern Brave began their Hundred defence with a nine-wicket schooling of Welsh Fire. Brave captain Vince was the Vitality Blast’s leading scorer with 678 runs and began the second edition of the Hundred with 71 off 41 balls, with opening partner Alex Davies hitting a complementary 26.

Earlier, Ben Duckett struck 40 off 31 balls, with the next-highest score just 11, as Fire struggled to a below par 107 in their 100 balls. Craig Overton dominated the top order with 2 for 21 before Chris Jordan picked up 2 for 16. Vince, Davies and Marcus Stonis were all the batters needed to finish the job with 31 balls to spare.

Vince had come off the back of a prolific Vitality Blast campaign with Hampshire Hawks – where he also captained his county to their third title. Fire could not to pass up an opportunity to dismiss him early – unfortunately, that just what they did, Ryan Higgins fluffing his chance at deep backward square when Vince picked him out with the fifth ball, the misfield then running away for four.

A pair of boundaries through midwicket and point further compounded the error, as Davies struck back-to-back fours off David Payne – the second a stunning straight drive.

Davies swatted a short delivery to Higgins off Jake Ball to fall with 36 runs needed in 51 balls, but Vince cut firmly to bring up his half-century in 31 balls. He waited until he was on 55 before slog-sweeping his first six, and Brave eased to victory to maintain their perfect Ageas Bowl record – Vince also bettering his previous Hundred best of 60.

Vince’s evening began well when won the toss, decided to bowl and saw the Fire top order cut down to 31 for 3 in the 25-ball powerplay, after a spectacular firework display had delayed proceedings.

Brave were without lightning quicks Jofra Archer, Tymal Mills and George Garton for various injury and illness-related issues but it mattered little thanks to their depth. Overton had Joe Clarke stretching to miscue to cover for a four-ball duck and Tom Banton hoicking to deep square leg, either side of 41-year-old Michael Hogan bowling Ollie Pope – who missed a reverse sweep.

Duckett and Sam Hain put on 25, the inning’s highest stand, but wickets continued to fall regularly. Jake Lintott spun his way into the attack and his googly tickled Hain’s glove with his second ball, while 17-year-old leg spinner Rehan Ahmed and James Fuller went at under a run-a-ball.

Fuller got the final touch to a chaotic run out to see off Fire captain, Josh Cobb, and Quinton de Kock’s stand-in easily held on to Ryan Higgins on the square boundary.

Duckett held things together, although he survived a run out and dropped catch, dominating on the sweep and laps as all five of his boundaries came behind the wicket. He eventually top-edged Jordan to mid-on before seeing Noor Ahmad jab the first, and only, six of the innings; but Fire’s effort never looked like being enough.