Manchester Originals v Birmingham Phoenix
Sunday 25 July, 18:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Manchester Originals looked rather confused by the new format when chasing against Invicibles in the opener. They didn't know whether to stick or twist going after a target of 145.
They will have to learn fast, though, because that is likely to be a par score. Jos Buttler, in particular, looked in terrible touch and few would have been impressed to see Carlos Brathwaite batting as high as No 6. Still, that's how they recruited.
It might be wise to find room for Sam Hain, a terrific hitter but with Colin Ackermann unavailable due to injury they would be shy on bowling options. Lockie Ferguson must also be injured.
Possible XI Buttler, Salt, Clarke, Munro, Lammonby, Brathwaite, Harrison, Klaasen, Hartley, Parkinson, Finn
Phoenix can tinker
Phoenix are up and running after beating the Spirit. They held their nerve to chase a decent target and unearthed a new superstar in the process. Chris Benjamin only signed for the franchise in midweek. He rescued them from a perilous position, hitting 24 off 15 including an audacious reverse paddle for six.
They caused some surprises with their selection, or rather batting order. Miles Hammond joined Finn Allen in the opening slot instead of Liam Livingstone. Hammond comes under the radar but he has an outstanding boundary percentage.
It was eyebrow raising to see neither Pat Brown nor Dillon Pennington make the XI. Tom Helm could be vulnerable after an expensive show or Phoenix could lose a batter with Daniel Bell-Drummond overkill. Adam Milne, the Kiwi, was superb, though, and should have won the match gong.
Possible XI Allen, Hammond, Livingstone, Moeen, Benjamin, Howell, Cooke, Milne, Brown, Tahir
Old Trafford is second-bottom for runs per over in T20 - a rate of 7.6. That's marginally better than Southampton. However, in the last two years we've seen an average runs per over rate of 1.38 which is not the mark of a bowler-friendly surface. Again, keep that CricViz average score in mind when playing the runs line.
Spinners to the fore
Originals are 2.021/1 with Phoenix 1.834/5. We make this more of a choice affair, wary that the market may have overreacted to one game.
Certainly Phoenix were grateful that Spirit had fewer spin options and although Originals are not expected to trouble the top three spots, they have three spinners to turn the screw. Tom Hartley, Calvin Harrison and
Matt Parkinson were excellent in game one. It was the pacers who were the problem. If they can get the average score we might be able to take them at 2.305/4 to defend.
One suspects that both captains will look to take pace off immediately. This doesn't help hitters like Allen, Hammond, Livingstone, Buttler and Phil Salt. Could the value be in the middle order for top bats? Moeen is a terrific player of spin and this could be his game. He's 7/2 for top Phoenix bat. Tom Lammonby catches the eye at 17/2 for Originals. Moeen and Lammonby should get very big very quick in-play though so look out for 6/1 and 10/1. They are 8/1 and 16/1 respectively for man of the match.
London Spirit v Oval Invincibles
Sunday 25 July 14:30
TV: live on BBC2, Sky Sports
Spirit need spin
Spirit got off to a losing start against Birmingham Phoenix. They were more than competitive but it could be argued they got their selection wrong, which cost them the game.
Surprisingly for a team coached by Shane Warne, they failed to pick their legspinner Mason Crane. Spirit could have done with Crane's control and variation in a tight chase against Phoenix. Whether Warne rectifies that remains to be seen but he'd be in our team every day of the week, particularly because spinners have shown to be pivotal so far.
Blake Cullen is most likely to make way after an expensive show. Mohammad Amir was pricier but it would take a brave coach to drop the overseas star after one game.
Possible XI Crawley, Inglis, Lawrence, Denly, Morgan, Bopara, Nabi, van der Merwe, Wood, Crane, Amir
Oval Invincibles produced a strong showing with bat and ball to take down Manchester Originals in their first game. They seemed to be playing well within themselves with the bat at least and they should get stronger as the tournament progresses.
Sam Billings picked up the man of the match award with a middle-order master class but Invincibles had set the stall out by promoting boundary hitters. Sam Curran opened and Sunil Narine batted at No 3. Expect Curran to join Jason Roy again. We suspect Narine only comes in if they lose a wicket in the powerplay. He's interchangeable with Laurie Evans.
Tabraiz Shamsi has replaced Sandeep Lamichhane as the international-class spin option but the game comes too soon with South Africa still in Ireland. Saqib Mahmood is an injury doubt. Jordan Clark stands by.
Possible XI Roy, S Curran, S Narine/Evans, Jacks, Billings, Ingram, T Curran, Clark, Sowter, Topley
Lord's has been decent for batting in T20. It has an RPO of 8.1, which makes it third-best for batters of The Hundred venues. In the last two years the runs per ball average is 1.38. That would suggest a first-innings score of 140-145 would be about par. That is bang in line with the CricViz estimate for the average score in the tournament. We would expect the runs line to be pitched just under 150 so it could be a short post powerplay.
Book bigger Oval bet
London Spirit are 2.1211/10 and Oval are 1.824/5. That seems fair and what we would expect. As we said for Spirit's first game we have concerns about their bowling so in an ideal world Oval would chase here.
That could mean we get a flip on the odds, or at least Oval coming up to the mid 1.9010/11 region. If the toss goes our way ask for 1.9520/21 on the Invincibles.
Josh Inglis, the Aussie powerhouse, has been boosted to 10/3 by Sportsbook for top Spirit bat. It's a good price about a guy who will open. For Invincibles, Sam Curran is 11/2. That's also chunky about a potential opener.
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