Ed Hawkins picks out the value with rain around for The Hundred clash at Old Trafford on Thursday.
"With rain around, the opening batsmen should have the most opportunity to put down a score. So we're considering wagers on the top match bat market"
Manchester Originals v Southern Brave
Thursday 5 August 19.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Originals spin to win
Originals are well-placed for a top-three finish in terms of points and personnel. They have two wins from four, a washout and a squad which didn't even blink at the loss of Jos Buttler.
Their main strength is the spin department. With tweakers dominating, they could bowl 80 balls of spin if they wished. Matt Parkinson, Tom Hartley, Calvin Harrison and Colin Ackermann are a formidable quartert. In fact, they have such an embarrassment of riches with the ball now Lockie Ferguson is fit, it could be argued they're picking too many.
Do they really need pacer Steven Finn as well? If they wished they could strengthen their batting by picking Sam Hain because Carlos Brathwaite looks a little high at No 6 and is awful against turn.
Probable XI Salt, Clarke, Munro, Ackerman, Lammonby, Brathwaite, Harrison, Hartley, Ferguson, Finn, Parkinson
Briggs must play
We have a real downer on the Brave, who remain in contention for a top-three finish despite losing their first two matches. They don't appear to have cottoned on to the importance of spin, particularly using it in the field.
Pre-tournament there were concerns whether their batting up front would be vulnerable to tweak. But their continued refusal to pick Danny Briggs (and therefore bowl only 40 balls of spin) has overtaken the former as a concern.
If Briggs comes into the XI they look far more competitive. Considering Colin de Grandhomme, the Kiwi all-rounder, has been so poor it is bizarre Briggs has not played. De Grandhomme has a bowling economy of 2.3 runs per ball and 14 runs at a strike of 87. If he wasn't an overseas signing he'd have been dropped by now.
Brave were hopeful that Jofra Archer would return in time to propel them to the finals but the pacer looks certain to miss the entire tournament. Archer has suffered a setback in recuperation from an elbow injury. They have also lost Devon Conway, to be replaced by Paul Stirling, meaning they still have four openers.
Possible XI De Kock, Vince, Stirling, Davies, Whiteley, Garton, Briggs, Dawson, Jordan, Mills, Lintott
There has been only one match at Old Trafford in the tournament. Birmingham were razed by spin for just 87, prompting Ben Stokes to call the pitch "horrific". Mercifully the other game scheduled between Originals and Superchargers was washed out. Given the state of the surface it would beggar belief if Brave didn't get their selection right so we're confident this is a game to short the innings runs, probably with the par set at 140.5. Although that's only one run higher than the average score in the first dig so far (as the data shows below) we think the wicket is considerably trickier than the average.
Unfortunately best-laid plans could be spoiled by the weather. The forecast is poor with a percentage chance of rain never lower than 42 for the duration. It looks certain that balls will be lost.
The Hundred data
Batting 1st average score 139
RBP average 1.40
RBP average batting 2nd 1.39
145 or more 7/14
Powerplay average 32.8
Powerplay ave batting 1st 30.5
Powerplay average batting 2nd 34.2
Favourite wins 9/14
Chaser wins 8/14
Originals are 1.824/5 and Brave 2.1211/10. Those odds appear to be bang on and the market is wise to Brave's issues with spin. But are they only bang on in a full 200-ball game?
In the probable of event of innings being shortened, the favourite has less time to assert dominance. This game could be something of a shootout.
With that in mind, Brave (providing they pick Briggs) could be considered a trade with the chase in their favour.
With rain around, the opening batsmen should have the most opportunity to put down a score. So we're considering wagers on the top match bat for the four players at the top of the order. Quinton de Kock and James Vince are priced at 4/1 and 9/2 respectively while Originals' Phil Salt and Joe Clarke, who has been in terrific touch, are 5/1 and 9/2. Vince and Clarke have all-round games that might give them the edge.
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