The second part of the double header of action in The Hundred on Sunday comes from The Oval where the Oval Invincibles take on the reigning champions Southern Brave in what could be a key contest in the overall season.
Oval dropped their opening match but have won two since then while the Brave have gone the other way. They won their first game but have lost two since and know a third defeat here could be catastrophic so there is plenty on this one.
The Oval Invincibles had a chance of winning all three of their matches, although had they won their opening one I don’t think anyone could deny it would have been something of a steal. The two matches they have won they’ve won pretty well and it was their latest victory which caught the eye. It did so for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they were without two big players who were on international duty, and secondly the Northern Superchargers came at them hard but Oval held their poise and got the job done.
I guess if you were being really picky you could argue that Oval have won their two matches without key players in much form. Jason Roy can’t buy a run at the minute while Rilee Rossouw didn’t make double figures in the previous match. With two key batters coming back for this one Oval look nicely equipped with the bat and when they have a banker 20 balls from Sunil Narine and Sam Curran in great form there is a lot to build around.
When the Southern Brave cruised past the Welsh Fire in the opening match it looked like they were picking up where they left off last season. As it turns out that wasn’t the case at all. Instead they just beat a team who aren’t up to it and since then they’ve dropped a couple of matches in fairly convincing fashion. They offered little challenge to the Birmingham Phoenix in game two and then were never really in the hunt against the London Spirit last time out.
We are three matches into the campaign and three of the Brave top five are yet to reach the 20 run mark for the season while 71 of the 88 runs James Vince has scored came in the win over the Welsh Fire. They desperately need some batters to come to the party here because there are starting to be a few concerns over their bowling attack. Tymal Mills is now out of the tournament while there are injury doubts over Craig Overton and Chris Jordan for this one.
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Sam Curran has been in excellent form for the Invincibles so far. He has a wicket in each match and hasn’t gone for more than 29 from his 20 balls and then his 60 in the last game for Oval over the line. If he goes well Oval are a good chance here.
Southern Brave need one of their big hitting all-rounders to justify the responsibility placed on them. Marcus Stoinis would be the key one of those because he is opening the bowling and batting at three so he needs to go big to give the Brave a chance.
I think we are far enough into the competition for form to be a thing and although in limited overs cricket of any kind anyone can have a day out and win a match on their own, on what we’ve seen in the tournament so far there are more players from the Oval Invincibles in good nick than there are the Southern Brave. That makes me like the home side here but I also like them because they have only lost one of their six matches here over the two seasons and clearly play their home ground well.
The other issue with the Brave is their bowling resources. Chris Jordan and Craig Overton haven’t been ruled out of this contest but there is strong talk that neither of them will play which leaves a very light looking attack for the champions, particularly if they don’t want to play a bunch of spinners with the shorter straight boundaries here. Oval are back to full strength for this match and I expect them to take full advantage of that in this one.
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