It has been a long time in coming but the men’s competition of The Hundred finally gets underway on Thursday when the Oval Invincibles take on the Manchester Originals to start what has been billed as the saviour of English cricket.
Whatever you do or don’t think about the competition and the format, this is a match which will see the likes of Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Jos Buttler, Joe Clarke, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine and Sam Billings among others in the one match.
If the women’s match was anything to go by then the Oval Invincibles will be confident going into this match because it was their women’s team who got off to a winning start on Wednesday evening. There was an air of the unknown about that match with nobody really knowing how to play this but I suspect the men will be much more certain of their plans, although to be fair to the Invincibles, they have only just got a lot of their star players back from international duty so they might improve as the competition goes on.
They do look like a very balanced side though you would have to say. They have power at the top of their line up, decent options in the middle order and they have a varied bowling attack which should cause some problems on a pitch which was used on Wednesday evening. You get the impression that a fast start is going to be imperative to all sides in this competition and in Jason Roy and Will Jacks they have two men perfectly designed for that.
The Manchester Originals are one of the sides who have had to battle late withdrawals from their squad and that might be an issue for them ahead of this opening match. Much like their opponents here, they are another team who might improve as the competition goes on, especially when you consider that a couple of key players in Jos Buttler and Matt Parkinson have only just got back from international duty. While their eye will be in, being involved in team plans and things won’t have been possible.
The Originals look very strong with the bat with them potentially having the most powerful top five in the competition and then a very dangerous floater in Carlos Brathwaite. Where they need to show their worth is with the ball as there are just a couple of options that could go either way if they are not careful. This is a team full of T20 talent though and you sense that would be the perfect way to go about things here.
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Jason Roy comes into this match off the back of a wonderful match winning effort for England on Thursday and in a competition where getting off to a quick start is imperative he is going to be a huge figure for the Oval Invincibles here.
Jos Buttler didn’t quite have his timing about him against Pakistan on Tuesday but we saw all of his class at Headingley on Sunday and if he can get the Originals off to a flyer here they have a number of players who can really bolster the score.
I’m going to get a feel for the squads, the sides and how everything happens before I get too involved in this tournament but there is one bet which I can’t ignore here and that comes in the form of the runs. The runs line here is 242.5 which I think could be a little on the low side. I expect the batsmen to play with even more freedom in this format than they do the 20 over one because there is less chance of them getting bowled out and that should mean a lot of runs.
The one thing which could temper the run scoring is bowlers only have to bowl spells of five balls which means batsmen might not be able to get set but at the same time bowlers get no rhythm in that situation. I still expect this pitch to be decent enough for batting – this is the ECBs last great hope so they need the pitches to be of a high quality throughout – and the outfield here is always lightning. That all leads to there being more than 242.5 runs between these two power packed batting teams.
Back Over 242.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365