Ed Hawkins previews the contest between the Oval Invincibles and London Spirit in The Hundred at The Oval on Saturday night...
"Invincibles should have the brains to put the brakes on. Let's ask for 1.824/5 and hope for the best"
Oval Invincibles v London Spirit
Saturday 13 August 19:00
TV: live on Sky Sports, BBC2
Invincibles need a win
Oval Invincibles require a victory to keep qualification in their own hands. They have had a stop-start campaign, unable to manage back-to-back wins but holding their nerve to beat Trent Rockets last time out.
In a rain-affected affair, they posted a whopping 125 off 65 balls and managed to hang on by nine runs. Jason Roy has found his form and he picked up the match gong with 56 from 29.
They should be at full-strength for this one, something that looked unlikely when Saqib Mahmood was called to England's Test squad. He has been released which presumably means the chances of England players being available for the finals are good.
Invincibles, for some reason, are nervous about batting depth so are using Alex Blake instead of Nathan Sowter, the spinner. It means they might have to ask Will Jacks to have a bowl with only five proper options.
Probable XI Roy, Jacks, Narine, Ingram, Bilings, Evans, Blake, T Curran, Shamsi, Saqib, Topley
London Spirit have finally managed to get a win on the board. But it is all too little too late. They showed commendable nous and guts to defend against the Originals and one wonders why they'd not shown it before.
Setting a target and protecting, perhaps, is the solution. They had been awful in chases previously. That and picking Brad Wheal who won the man of the match award for superb death bowling against Originals. He claimed four wickets including the game-changing one of Colin Ackermann.
Spirit may be without leader Eoin Morgan, who sat out fielding duty against Originals with ice on a knee. Mohammad Nabi, the Afghan all-rounder, could also be a doubt with his mother in intensive care. Joe Denly may come into the XI and Mohammad Amir, dropped last time, could get a reprieve.
Possible XI Rossington, Reece, Inglis, Bopara, Cracknell, Denly, van der Merwe, Cullen, Wheal, Amir, Crane
There looked little wrong with The Oval wicket in wet for the Invincibles-Rockets contest. The hosts rollicked along at 1.92 runs per ball, a whopping leap from first-innings scores of 121 and 145. It just goes to show what a batting side can do with intent.
With the runs per ball in first-innings ticking ahead of the second for the first time in the tournament teams have perhaps let the handbrake off, aware that wickets in hand are not such an important factor. It might be an overs day on the runs line. No rain is forecast.
The Hundred data
Batting 1st average score 134.9
RBP average 1.45
RBP average batting 2nd 1.44
145 or more 10/22
Powerplay average 33.8
Powerplay ave batting 1st 32.5
Powerplay average batting 2nd 36.5
Favourite wins 14/22
Chaser wins 13/22
Oval can apply brakes
Invincibles are 1.728/11 to beat Spirit who are 2.285/4. We are surprised the home team are not below the 1.705/7 mark given respective form and possible absentees for the visitors. The price about Oval seems perfect for an in-play wager, keeping fingers crossed that they bat second.
Spirit can show spirit in the first powerplay with a top three who won't die wondering. But Invincibles should have the brains to put the brakes on. Let's ask for 1.824/5 and hope for the best.
Sportsbook's 2/1 that Oval win and both teams score 140 is a price of note given the recent scoring trends.
Roy has had his price boosted to 13/5 by Sportsbook to be top Oval bat. He is also 7/1 favourite for man of the match. The 60/1 about Tom Curran top batting looks extreme.
For Spirit, Ravi Bopara might get shunted up the order so 17/2 could be a price. Roelof van der Merwe also catches the eye at 40/1.
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