The Hundred competition heads into Cardiff for the first time on Tuesday when the double header between the Welsh Fire and the Southern Brave is played out on what should be an intriguing encounter given the expectation of both teams.
The Welsh Fire had an excellent win in their opening match while the Southern Brave were comprehensively beaten so it will be interesting to see if those trends continue or whether there is a reversal in fortunes.
I have to admit I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Welsh Fire given how late their squad was cobbled together but they delivered a wonderful display in the opening game and held their nerve in the pressure moments to get the job done. I will be interested to see how they go here though because they look like a side that is set up to play on flat pitches and score a lot of runs, which isn’t really the style suited to Cardiff in recent times.
The one thing the Fire do have at their disposal is a very good spinner in Qais Ahmad who got off to an excellent start at Headingley at the weekend. You would think if he is taken four wickets there he is going to be very hard to face here. The interesting thing will be whether someone in the Fire side can take responsibility to get them up to a score. That might mean parking their ego and just knocking the ball around for a bit, that doesn’t look the natural game of many within their side though.
The Southern Brave were almost out of their opening match before it had got started so they will be eager to deliver a better showing with the bat here in particular. They actually have a nice balance to their batting so the fact so many just lost their heads against the Trent Rockets was a bit of a surprise, although in fairness the Rockets have looked a very good side in the competition so far so maybe we shouldn’t be too down on the Brave on that first effort.
The issue the Brave might have here is their side was drafted on a strong seam bowling attack. Jofra Archer isn’t here and Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills aren’t really suited to the conditions we usually see in Cardiff. In saying that, they do have a couple of tidy spinners in Danny Briggs and Liam Dawson so it isn’t all doom and gloom. If their batsmen can deliver a better effort then there is no reason why the Southern Brave can’t put up a much stronger showing than in their first game.
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Qais Ahmad announced himself to the competition in fine style in the opening match when he took four wickets on a good pitch at Headingley. He should find conditions even more to his liking here in Cardiff, a ground where he took 1-20 for Kent in the Vitality Blast.
Liam Dawson has had an annoying summer so far but he has the chance to remind everyone of his credentials in conditions that should suit him here. He’ll be able to get help from the pitch with the ball and he is an underrated and clever batsmen so he could be very important for the Brave.
The run line for this match sits up at 305.5 which I fancy might be a little on the high side for a few reasons. The first of those is that this has been a low scoring tournament so far with only one first innings having more than 150 in it. That happened to be the Welsh Fire who scored that but they did that on a much better pitch at Headingley than I’m expecting here. The other reason why I’m expecting a lower scoring contest is this Cardiff wicket.
There was a Royal London One Day Cup match here last week which was fairly low scoring and although the last two matches in the Vitality Blast here had big first innings scores, that is clouded by the fact Glamorgan rested some senior players. This isn’t a high scoring ground at the best of times and can be quite tricky to score at. Then you add in that the women will be on the pitch first and that might slow it down further and I don’t think we’ll get 305.5 runs here. The Brave don’t bat particularly deep and have a couple of stroke players rather than brutal hitters in their top order. I like the under here.
Back Under 305.5 runs for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway