Ed Hawkins previews Sunday's action from The Oval in The Hundred and marks your card for some big prices
"The chase may have to be on their side, though. There is a slight bias in the tournament for the team batting second"
Invincibles v Rockets
Saturday 7 August 19.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Invincibles need to get back on track
Invincibles, one of three teams on five points before Saturday's match, need a win. They may well need another to be sure of qualification. Remember, the top three teams go through.
They will be hurting after a loss to Birmingham Phoenix last time out when their bowling discipline deserted them and 173 was not defended. From the promising start by beating Originals in the tournament opener, they have been rather disappointing.
Since that Originals success we have criticised them for not picking Nathan Sowter, the spinner. And although an extra tweak option might not have made the difference against Phoenix, their pace bowlers of Saqib Mahmood, Reece Topley and Tom Curran are putting pace back on for batters on wickets which are only going to get slower.
One piece of good news is that Colin Ingram has found his form. His 81 from 43 was the knock of the tournament thus far.
Probable XI Roy, Jacks, Narine, Ingram, Billings, Evans, Clark, T Curran, Shamsi, Topley, Mahmood
Rockets taking off
Rockets look assured of finishing in the top three with eight points (four wins from five). But they will not take their foot off the gas. The side that finishes first goes straight to the final so there is huge incentive to keep performing.
Against Welsh Fire on Friday, they produced another strong display on what had been a good batting wicket. They restricted the hosts to 139, bowling 50 balls of spin. But it was Wahab Riaz, making his debut, who impressed most. He claimed four wickets after replacing Marchant de Lange in the squad.
Steven Mullaney had been added to the XI for batting depth, something we've been angling for. With such a wealth of spin options it makes sense for Rockets to get as many batters in there as possible.
Possible XI Short, Hales, Malan, Mullaney, Patel, Gregory, Moores, Rashid, Wahab, L Wood, Carter
There have been scores of 121 (Fire) and 145 (Oval) so far in Kennington. In the women's tournament there have been scores of 112 and 135. It is unlikely to pay to expect big runs. As usual, then, there is little margin for joy on the par runs line. It is likely to be set at 143.5 mark or thereabouts. It could tick just over or just under. There are forecast showers, too, from 19.00 before the skies clear. We could lose some balls to get a game, though. Sportsbook go even money that both teams score 140.
The Hundred data
Batting 1st average score 137
RBP average 1.40
RBP average batting 2nd 1.45
145 or more 8/18
Powerplay average 33.7
Powerplay ave batting 1st .231
Powerplay average batting 2nd 36.2
Favourite wins 12/18
Chaser wins 12/18
Oval can chase
Invincibles are 2.206/5 with Rockets 1.774/5. That's a big old chunk between the two sides and although we rate Rockets as the top side, a case can be made for Invincibles.
For a start we expect them to return to their mean and economical ways with the ball. Defeat by Phoenix can be excused as a bad day at the office and we expect something tighter.
The chase may have to be on their side, though. There is a slight bias in the tournament for the team batting second. If the toss goes their way we will look to take 2.305/4 in-play before laying at 1.705/7 for an extra 25% on the stake. That should give a green book.
Alex Hales may be a fancy for many against Oval. Sportsbook have boosted him from 11/5 to 5/2 for top Rockets bat. Perhaps they're aware of his poor record against the individual bowlers he will come up against. Oval have plenty of options to keep him quiet or remove him quickly.
As ever we're looking down the lists for value and make a note of Lewis Gregory at 20s for the Rockets. Rashid Khan is 45/1 and it would be nice to get that price and then see him promoted to No 6 again. Dawid Malan is 7/2 and Samit Patel 7s. Malan's form has been excellent.
For Oval, Tom Curran looks very toppy at 70/1. Jason Roy has been boosted by Sportsbook to 3/1. Ingram is the same.
Hales runs/SR/outs v Oval bowlers in T20
Saqib - 22/110/1
T Curran 8/133/1
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