Birmingham Phoenix v Trent Rockets
Sunday 1 August 14.30
TV: live on BBC2, Sky Sports
Phoenix in a muddle
Phoenix have lost two from three with one washout. They should have won on Friday night but let slip a position of strength against Southern Brave. And as we said before that game it’s time they started getting selection right.
Tom Helm was pricey in their first game, wasn’t trusted to even bowl in their second and then came on to lose them the game at the death against Brave. Pat Brown or Dillon Pennington need to start in his place.
Possible XI Allen, Bell-Drummond, Livingstone, Moeen, Hammond, Benjamin, Cook, Howell, Milne, Brown, Tahir
Rockets have three wins from three and look nailed-on for qualification. In their last outing against London Spirit their spinners once again tied the opposition in knots, defending 123.
Samit Patel and Matt Carter took three wickets apiece and Rashid Khan two. D’Arcy Short even bowled tightly at 1.33 per ball. How long before Rockets go for 80 balls of spin with Marchant de Lange and Luke Wood pricey by comparison? Lewis Gregory and Timm van der Gugten didn’t even bowl. It gives them scope to add another batter like Luke Wright.
Possible XI Short, Hales, Wright, Malan, Patel, Gregory, T Moores, Rashid, Carter, De Lange, L Wood
Spirit posted a very strong 144 in Edgbaston’s first game. At the time (only game two in the tournament), it looked about par. Since it has proved to be better than average. That they didn’t hold on to defend was down to Shane Warne’s failure to pick an extra spin option. The runs par line is likely to be set at around that figure again. So keep fingers crossed for a fast start in the powerplay (first 25 balls) and hope it ticks up so we can short.
Phoenix in trouble
Phoenix’s defeat by Brave should really smart. The lack of spin bowled to them, and the wealth of spin they had to attack themselves, should have resulted in success. And it is hard to see them taking down the Rockets.
With a possible 80 balls of spin available, Phoenix could have a weakness exposed. Remember how they were razed in Manchester? The match odds market agrees. Rockets are 1.8810/11 and that looks a very good price pre-toss.
Liam Livingstone is boosted to 7/2 by Sportsbook for top Phoenix bat. He was in sensational form against Brave with a blistering half-century. But the value is lower down. We fear for Phoenix here and the 25s and 40s about Benny Howell and Chris Cooke respectively have appeal.
For Rockets the price that sticks out is the 7/1 that Patel takes most wickets. It’s a rick so fastest fingers first before it disappears. Also check back for a price on Rashid Khan to be man of the match.
The Hundred data
Batting 1st average score 138
RBP average 1.4
RBP average batting 2nd 1.44
145 or more 4/9
Powerplay average 35.3
Powerplay ave batting 1st 34.3
Powerplay average batting 2nd 36.3
Favourite wins 5/9
Chaser wins 5/9
London Spirit v Southern Brave
Sunday 1 August 18.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Spirit on brink
Spirit need a win – and fast. They have lost twice and suffered a washout. Another loss here and it will be very hard for them to be involved in the business end.
They will have been disappointed not to chase 124 against Trent Rockets last time having worked so hard to keep a strong batting team quiet. But they crumbled to spin. Against Brave, they will be tested by pace. That should suit them.
Selection has not been too hot. Luis Reece left out for Adam Rossington? Meh. Joe Denly needs to start bowling, too.
Possible XI Rossington, Inglis, Nabi, Denly, Morgan, Bopara, van der Merwe, Amir, C Wood, Cullen, Crane
Vince the hero
Brave were indebted to James Vince’s mercurial brilliance against Birmingham. Vince smashed 60 from 38. It led to the Twitter fan boys proclaiming that ‘Brave would go on to win the title’. Really? By bowling only 40 balls of spin? We don’t agree.
They need to find room for Danny Briggs. A simple swap would be replacing Colin de Grandhomme, who is having a nightmare time. They have no other overseas options. Jofra Archer remains sidelined.
Probable XI De Kock, Vince, Conway, Davies, Whiteley, De Grandhomme, Dawson, Garton, Jordan, Mills, Lintott
Spin was dominant in the one game so far at Lord’s as Rockets posted 124 and defended. In total, 145 balls of spin cost 0.9 runs per ball. Why would anyone bowl pace? With Brave short on spin, the toss is key for playing the runs par line. Spirit could well manage the tournament average (as per the data above). But Brave could go under. The par line could be set in the low 140s.
Watch the weather
Spirit are 2.1411/10 with Brave 1.774/5. It is fair to reckon that once the market matures 2.206/5 will be available about the Spirit.
That seems like a good price given the disparity in spin-bowling options. It’s worth a gamble, particularly if Spirit chase. There are slight signs that batting second is easier. The weather forecast is not great. There’s a 30% chance of rain throughout the match.
Crane, Roelof van der Merwe and Mohammad Nabi are all 4/1 for top Spirit bowler with Sportsbook. Backing all them could provide a profit. Nabi is also an interesting bet for top bat considering he batted at No 3 last time. He’s 9/2.
For Brave, Vince is 11/4 with Quinton de Kock the same price after a boost. This could be the game for De Kock to fire.
With the pitch sluggish we note the 11/5 on offer that no fifty is scored in first-innings. There is value in taking that bet.
Decoding The Hundred on Cricket…Only Bettor