The Manchester Originals are one of a few franchises who were highly thought of in the opening couple of campaigns of The Hundred given the calibre of squad that they put together but like so many others they are yet to get that to equate to silverware. They were a win away from winning the title last season which should have fuelled the fire for them to attempt to go one better this time around.
Last Season: 2nd
Captain: Jos Buttler
Key Players: Jos Buttler & Laurie Evans
Best Odds: 11/2 General
August 2: Welsh Fire (a)
August 5: London Spirit (h)
August 7: Birmingham Phoenix (h)
August 9: Oval Invincibles (a)
August 13: Northern Superchargers (a)
August 17: Trent Rockets (a)
August 20: Northern Superchargers (h)
August 23: Southern Brave (h)
Jos Buttler, Usama Mir, Phil Salt, Laurie Evans, Ashton Turner, Jamie Overton, Tom Hartley, Richard Gleeson, Paul Walter, Josh Tongue, Josh Little (Zaman Khan between August 16 and knockout rounds), Wayne Madsen, Tom Lammonby, Mitchell Stanley, Max Holden, Ben Raine
The Manchester Originals came flying home after a poor start last season and will be looking to go one better this time around. Like a number of the teams in this competition they have had to do some late jigging of their personnel with Wanindu Hasaranga once again not allowed to compete in the competition. Usama Mir is a very good late pick up, while Josh Little will be away with Ireland midway through the competition which isn’t exactly ideal.
The thing about the Originals is while their batting looks very strong with Laurie Evans and Wayne Madsen having very good T20 Blasts and the likes of Jos Buttler and Phil Salt class acts, their bowling has been a little inactive for my liking. Richard Gleeson, Mitchell Stanley and Josh Tongue, three key seamers in a weak looking set of bowlers, played just four matches between them in the T20 Blast so come into this tournament very much undercooked.
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At one stage last season, Manchester Originals had played 11 matches in this competition over the first campaign and three matches of that one and had won two games in total. Josh Little arrived as a replacement player and things clicked and Manchester got moving but if he doesn’t have the same impact, and he is only around for the first half of the season anyway, then this Originals bowling could look very toothless very quickly and that makes me think they could be the side who fall away the most this term.
Usama Mir is a good pick up but if their undercooked seamers start going the distance and teams are able to sit on the Pakistan leggie there could be some big scores run up against this Manchester side. For all that they have serious power in their top four, you could argue that all four would rather open the batting or bat at three so someone is going to have to play out of position. If Jos Buttler doesn’t find form then the floor for this Manchester side could be quite low. With a few issues to address I think it could pay to back Manchester to finish bottom of the lot and take the chance that they weaken as much as they could and that Welsh Fire can’t be as bad this term as they were last one.
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