Trent Rockets v Northern Superchargers
Monday 26 July, 18:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Rockets off to a flier
The Rockets went off like a, well, rocket in their first game against Southern Brave. But not in the manner many would have expected. It was their bowlers who turned on the afterburner.
Marchant de Lange, with five wickets, blew Brave away with a potent and disciplined display. Joe Root was also notable for being meanness personified with his brand of spin. Samit Patel likewise. Between them they conceded 26 runs from 30 balls.
It was a performance which confounded much of what many believed to be a fair opinion. Root, for example, is unlikely to be useful in the format. But here he was as a proper all-rounder. The same for Dawid Malan, who set about proving that he is a class act no matter what colour the ball or jersey. He smashed 62 from 43.
Possible XI Short, Hales, Malan, Root, Moores, Gregory, Mullaney, Patel, Rashid Khan, De Lange, L Wood
On a flat Headingley wicket, the Superchargers lost a straight shootout with the bat against Welsh Fire. They went down by five runs and may argue that the toss was key.
But still they will be concerned about their bowling attack conceding 173. Brydon Carse and David Willey, leaking 2.25 and 2.0 respectively, were unacceptably expensive. They have limited options to change it. Matthew Fisher with an economy of nine in T20?
Further squad problems can bee seen down the road with Ben Stokes playing his last group game before leaving for England. Faf Du Plessis is also a major doubt for the tournament having pulled out of the first three matches because of persistent concussion symptoms. They are trying to get a deal for Dane Vilas done in time.
At least Harry Brook produced the sort of brilliant performance Blast watchers have come to expect with the bat. Brook may have to carry this lot.
Possible XI Lynn, Lyth, Stokes, Brook, Kohler-Cadmore, Willey, Simpson, Carse, Potts, Adil Rashid, Mujeeb
Brave's 128 at Trent Bridge was a formbook buster. On the best batting wicket in the country how could they struggle so? Well, perhaps they got into a panic that they weren't scoring runs quick enough. There were certainly no devils in the surface. The 36 they managed in the powerplay was disappointing and they seemed to lose their heads. Malan and D'Arcy Short proved the surface is good and more than 160 is well within range here. We should be able to get even money for over 156 or 157 on the runs line.
Side batting first will shorten
An early show has the Rockets installed as 1.774/5 favourites. Anything in the 2.305/4 region about the Superchargers certainly looks chunky and an overreaction.
Batting first, we expect either team to shorten up because of the probability of easy runscoring. We might get 2.4529/20 about Superchargers chasing 165-170 at the break. But we might get even money about the Rockets for something similar.
Have a look at the table below, which shows percentage of sixes struck from balls faced for the probable top four batting line-ups in T20 careers. The Superchargers have more six appeal clearly. Yet Sportsbook make them 7/5 outsiders for most sixes. We'll tackle that. We don't necessarily have to believe at the odds that Superchargers are bigger hitters, just they are on a par. Rockets it seems are lucky to be made short jollies.
Possibly Sportsbook have underrated the likes of Chris Lynn and Adam Lyth and overrated Alex Hales and D'Arcy Short for pure hitting ability.