The Hundred hits Lord’s for the first time this season on Monday evening when two sides who had very different opening matches play their second game of the campaign as the London Spirit host the Manchester Originals.
The Spirit got off the mark with a dramatic win across the river at their local rivals Oval Invincibles, while the Originals failed to get the better of the Northern Superchargers in their opening game and are under pressure to win this one.
The London Spirit made much harder work of their opening win than they should have done but after a season where wins were tough to come by last term I’m sure they would have taken any victory in their opening game if you asked them. I’m sure they would like to make things much easier moving forward and I would imagine they will now that they have shaken off a little bit of rust and got themselves into the tournament.
For about 175 balls of the opening match the London Spirit had played a perfect game. They almost undid all their hard work at the end when a couple of players with nothing to lose swung from the hip but they got the job done eventually. It was a surprise that they leaked a few runs at the end of the innings because they have good death bowlers so whether they just needed the run remains to be seen. It is the only thing they have room for improvement though.
Much was expected of the Manchester Originals heading into this season but they failed to justify the billing in their opening match despite posting what looked like a good score. They looked to have put together an attack which should function well at Old Trafford and although the late withdrawal of Wanindu Hasaranga was a blow, they would still have expected to defend 161/4. It goes without saying that if they are going to justify the hype around them that bowling effort needs to improve.
If you were being critical you could argue that the Originals left a few runs out on the pitch given the batting depth they have but whenever you post 160 in this format you would be able to win the match. Manchester could do with a win here just to silence the growing doubters over Jos Buttler as a captain. England had a terrible summer under his stewardship and another defeat for the Originals here would start to be a real concern.
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Given that the London Spirit need to up their game at the end of the innings you would imagine Nathan Ellis will be a pretty important player for them here. It is only three weeks ago that he smashed it at the death for Hampshire in the Vitality Blast and the Spirit will want more of that here.
Andre Russell took a few balls to fire up to top gear in the opening match but having had an outing and shaken the rust off we should expect him to go big from the off when he gets to the crease in this one. His bowling will be crucial too.
This is the first time that The Hundred has been at Lord’s this season so I’m expecting a good pitch here. We have to remember that there is a Test match here in nine days so I’m guessing that the wicket for this match will be away from the middle of the square which could open up a shorter boundary to one side of the ground as usually the Test pitch is in the middle of the square. This will be the first professional cricket here in over two weeks so the pitch should be good.
With the potential for short boundaries somewhere along the line I like over 11.5 sixes here. To be fair some of the hitters on show in this match such as Jos Buttler, Glenn Maxwell and Andre Russell don’t need short boundaries to hit the ball for six. Both teams cleared the ropes in their opening match on grounds which are no smaller than what Lord’s is these days. With both teams looking a little light with the ball in their opening match too I think we can get to a dozen sixes here.
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