We have a double header of action to enjoy in The Hundred on Saturday with the third match of the competition coming from Trent Bridge as the Trent Rockets play host to the Southern Brave in what looks like the pick of the matches so far.
That is because the cast list for this contest includes Joe Root, Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, Jofra Archer, James Vince, Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan among many others. On a high scoring Trent Bridge ground we are all set for a cracking contest.
When the original draft was made it was hard not to have an eye on the Trent Rockets. They began from a good starting block anyway with the Nottinghamshire ace Alex Hales always likely to play for them and when they picked up Joe Root as their England international and then spent big to secure the services of Rashid Khan, they were always going to be a team to beat in this competition. Since then Nottinghamshire have basically dominated T20 cricket in England and there are plenty of Outlaws in this Rockets squad.
When you look down the team list for the Trent Rockets it is wonderfully well balanced. If there is a concern it might be that they don’t have an out and out power finisher down the order and a couple of their star batsmen like to get themselves into an innings before they start going big. That might not be ideal here at Trent Bridge, although they will back their bowlers to restrict teams even on a high scoring and tiny ground.
The other side who struck fear into opposition when the draft was completed was the Southern Brave. At the time the stock of Jofra Archer was sky high and then Chris Jordan was regarded as one of England’s best in T20 cricket. They also had the explosive power of Andre Russell coming over but he has withdrawn from the event. Colin de Grandhomme and Devon Conway were good late pickups though and you sense the Brave could go well.
The immediate thing to hit you about this Southern Brave squad is their bowling attack. Assuming Jofra Archer is fit to play then he, Jordan and Tymal Mills form an England international trio while George Garton and Craig Overton are other options. Danny Briggs has been one of the best spinners in county T20 cricket for a while and Jake Lintott is making a good name for himself. If there is a concern their batting might just be a batter light while Quinton de Kock is in Ireland.
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Alex Hales is regarded as some by the best T20 batsman in the country. This is another chance for him to show England just what they are missing as he goes about taking another competition by storm having done that all around the world in his career to date.
Colin de Grandhomme pretty much transformed Hampshire’s T20 campaign earlier in the month and his all-round skills will be utilised to the full by the Southern Brave in this opening match. He can smack it a mile and bowls tight medium pace which will be important.
I like the Trent Rockets here. We’ve seen the impact that home advantage has had in this tournament so far and maybe other than the Oval Invincibles there probably isn’t a team who have as much home advantage as the Rockets do given that half of their side is made up of the Nottinghamshire stars who won the Vitality Blast last year and who finished on top of the North Group this season.
I like their balance with a couple of powerful openers, a decent option in Luke Wright, two classy batsmen in Malan and Root and a bowling attack that takes the pace off the ball and can be hard to get away. Southern Brave have three strong seamers in Archer, Mills and Jordan but if one or two of them go round the park early doors they will soon be under pressure. There isn’t much wrong with the Southern Brave batting but Rashid Khan should be good for an economical 20 balls while the likes of Samit Patel, Steven Mullaney and Luke Wood can be hard to get away. In home conditions I think the Rockets are a big price here.
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