The Hundred continues on Thursday and with the women’s competition beginning the men will play their match first as the Oval Invincibles take on the Northern Superchargers to begin the third set of matches in the tournament.
Both these teams have a win and a loss on their record after two matches so the winners here will enhance their position, while the losers will have their season hanging by a thread so even this early in the campaign this is a big match.
The Oval Invincibles would have been expected to get off to a quick start this season when you consider they opened up against two of the weaker sides from last term but they were caught cold in their opening match against the London Spirit. To their credit they bounced back and beat the Welsh Fire but I don’t think that is much of a form guide as they look a distance behind the rest of the teams in the competition.
You can only beat what is in front of you though and Oval did that nicely. I think they’ll need to play better here but the confidence of winning a match combined with the extra game in the legs of those who need it should bring about some natural improvement. One thing which might hold them back a little bit is the fact that Sam Billings will be missing for this match as he is with the England Lions. Will Jacks is also with that squad so Jason Roy will lead the side.
The Northern Superchargers got off to a winning start when they overwhelmed the Manchester Originals. That doesn’t look a great win yet either but it does look better than a win over the Welsh Fire. The Superchargers were then exposed a little by the Trent Rockets last time out so they will be eager to get back on the horse and return to winning ways here. They have played since the Lions took Harry Brook away so at least they won’t be inconvenienced by that.
One thing Northern Superchargers need to do is ensure they don’t collapse at the top of the order again. They managed to recover from 68-6 to post a competitive total but that isn’t going to be a recipe that delivers success too often. Admittedly they had a couple of players sawn off by some questionable umpiring decisions but they need their top order to score big runs. Another concern would be how easily they have conceded runs in the tournament. That needs to change too.
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Sam Curran is likely to get a greater role to play in this match given the absences of Billings and Jacks. We might see him wander out at three and he’ll bowl his 20 balls in key parts of the innings. You feel he needs to go well if Oval are to win.
David Wiese has opened up the tournament like a house on fire and if he goes well he’ll give the Superchargers the spark they need to push for the win. They could probably afford to push him up the order and give him longer to make a difference.
This looks to be a good chance for the Northern Superchargers to get back to winning ways. I say that because there is no hiding the fact that Oval Invincibles are missing two key players. In both of their matches they have gone absolutely nowhere for the first 65 balls or so and then they have exploded into life in the last 30 balls but I can’t believe that is a regular winning combination. Had it not been for Will Jacks in Cardiff they would have put up a weak total and some lusty late hitting turned a terrible performance into a glossed up one in the opening game. With Jason Roy bang out of touch and Jacks missing there just feels a makeshift look about Oval. The Superchargers lost their last game but I think the Trent Rockets are looking sneaky good but the Leeds outfit still put up a score with their top order being shot out. That bodes well because there’s too much class in that top order to fail forever. If they can just tighten up their bowling a touch this is a winnable game against an Oval side who lack a bit of depth.
One man who I think can inspire for Oval in this match is Jack Haynes. I’m a huge fan of the Worcestershire batter and I think this stage could be perfect for him. Admittedly I’m taking a chance that he is one of the players who will come into the side and if he is I think he can score well. Haynes is a modern batter in that he hits it 360 degrees and even in a Worcestershire side that haven’t got going this term he has impressed. Oval need a batter in the middle of the order and if the poor form of Roy continues then it is there that the top score is likely to come from. I fancy Haynes will surprise and outrun his price.
Back Nortnern Superchargers to beat Oval Invincibles for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Coral
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