The weekend is here which means that there is another double header of action in The Hundred on Saturday and with the table as congested as it is it is a big day for both the Trent Rockets and the Birmingham Phoenix who open the show.
These two begin the day inside the bottom three in the table and it is all over for whoever loses here. The winners give themselves a chance of qualifying for the next stage when the final matches are played out next week.
Where to watch
The match will be shown across the BBC Two and Sky Cricket channels with the build-up to this one beginning at 2pm ahead of the 2.30pm start.
The Trent Rockets certainly haven’t been brilliant in their title defence this season and their defeat to the Manchester Originals on Thursday probably left them needing to do too much to keep hold of their crown. There is a chance that if they win their last two matches they will force their way into the Eliminator but their destiny is out of their own hands after that loss on Thursday evening which is never a position a team want to be in.
The problem the Rockets have is their batting has let them down too often. They made changes at the top of their order for the previous game and it still didn’t make much of a different. The big issue they had against the Originals is that their new ball bowling got torn apart and when the batting is short of a gallop then the last thing that was needed was a daunting run chase to get stuck into and you sensed all along that wasn’t going to end well.
The Birmingham Phoenix probably saw their campaign end from a competitive point of view when they went down to the Southern Brave on Wednesday evening. Mathematically they can still make it through but they are going to need to win their final two matches by a pretty sizeable margin and then they are going to need an awful lot of results to go their way. Equation wise it is possible but realistically that isn’t going to be the case.
Quite simply, the Phoenix batting hasn’t fired like a team with the names that they have at their disposal should be doing. They haven’t got anything out of the likes of Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone with the bat and even Will Smeed hasn’t really come off either. Those three struggling combined has just left Birmingham too much to know. The Phoenix will hope with the competitive pressures beginning to ease that their big players can finally produce some fireworks.
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If there was a positive in defeat for the Trent Rockets in the previous game it was the return to form of Tom Kohler-Cadmore. The best teams in this competition fire from the top so to have their number three scoring runs is a bonus.
Liam Livingstone just hasn’t fired at all in this competition so far but if he can do it here, and there is no part of this ground which is big enough to contain him should he get some out of the middle of the bat, then he can lead the Phoenix to a strong performance.
We are at that stage of the competition where winning is one thing but sorting out the net run rate is another ambition and that is very much the case for these two sides. If they are going to make it through to the next stage you would imagine it will only be on net run rate and both of their totals is in the minus area so if they get into a position to win this match quickly the chances are they will look to do exactly that.
That makes me like the boundaries in this one. If I am honest the 36.5 boundaries would be one or two too high in normal circumstances but the need to address the run rate makes the line a little more achievable and the fact that this is a day game means that we won’t need to worry about conditions or anything. There were 45 boundaries here in the match on Thursday and we saw in that game how accessible the ropes are. These two sides can pepper them again here.
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