The (Men’s) Hundred Preview — a data-led look at each team
English cricket’s new short form competition begins, a year late thanks to COVID, on 21st July 2021.
To the ECB it’s a brave new dawn that will simplify and shorten the game; a spigot to tap into reservoirs of new fans and snappy content for eager broadcasters.
To existing cricket fans, the ECB seems like a middle-aged man who, in a moment of self-delusion, walks away from a loving family home in search of all the fun he should be having elsewhere. The trouble is, of course, such adventurers tend to discover that the reality of the Tinder-led life is not quite the thrill ride they were promised.
Long time cricket fans are watching in horror as it seems to many that the ECB is getting its ear pierced and cashing in its pension for a Harley Davidson.
A rush for newness has caught English cricket out before; the ECB has form. Memories of ill-fated decisions of the past linger, such as the straight-up embarrassment of the Allen Stanford affair. That led to red faces and reforecast budgets. There is a fear that if the Hundred isn’t a success — or, worse, that it is a success — it will deliver a mortal blow to the cricket ecosystem that current fans know and genuinely love.
The Hundred will have a warping effect on the domestic game in England, that is certain. Whether it generates revenues to sustain the county system or dominates coverage and begins to crowd existing competitions out of the calendar remains to be seen.
Before a ball is bowled either of these futures is possible — but the risk appetite of the game’s custodians feels like it is out of sync with that of the longstanding fan. To many fans the Hundred feel like a roll of the dice with unacceptably high stakes.
Nonetheless, there will be cricket.
There will be cricketers we admire demonstrating their skills in a new format. The new city-based teams mean a mash up of players in new and intriguing configurations. It would be disingenuous to say there is nothing of interest in the Hundred on its own terms, even if there are concern about how it will ripple out from the seven lucky cities — and when the wave crashes in Worcester, Taunton and Northampton what will be left in the backwash.
But we can take the Hundred as a sporting contest and preview it in those terms. Below, we walk through the each of the eight squads highlighting strengths and weaknesses based on recent shortest form (T20 and T10) performances — and noting some players to watch.
A quick note on the methodology (for those that way inclined)
This preview of each squad is based on data. The squads are up-to-date as of the 15 July, though there have been changes right up to the last. In the era of COVID that was always likely.
We’ve aggregated together recent short form performances for each player in the tournament. The data covers T20 international matches since the start of 2020; the 2020 and 2021 Vitality Blast, Indian Premier League and Pakistan Super League; Big Bash 10; the latest South African T20 challenge; the Caribbean Super League 2020 and the latest Abu Dhabi T10 competition.
For batters the raw data is: innings, runs and balls faced. This lets us calculate Runs per Innings (R/I) (which I think is a better measure than the traditional average for the shorter forms of the game) and a runs-per-100-balls strike rate.
To rank the batters, we weight the R/I 2:1 with strike rate to get an overall ranking.
For bowlers, the raw data is: balls delivered, runs conceded and wickets. we use good old strike rate and economy rate, this time expressed as runs per over. To rank bowlers overall, we weight these equally.
For bowlers without a wicket, we’ve confected a strike rate of their balls bowled plus 100 — so the lowest ranked bowler by strike rate is the bowler who has bowed the most balls in the dataset without a wicket.
No methodology is perfect, of course, but overall it creates a ranking that passes an eye test. You could argue T20Is should carry more weight, plus you get a few players looking good on relatively few performances — but overall it meets what we wanted: something with some insight as a start point for rating the squads.
We’ve aggregated the individual player data into team aggregates too, using the top ten rated batters and top eight rated bowlers, so as to even out for squad size. This gives us overall team rankings for bat and ball, which in turn gives us an aggregated ranking across both disciplines and an overall ranking.
When discussing teams, where I use a superlative — ‘excellent’, ‘terrible’, that sort of thing — it means the team’s performance is more than one standard deviation better or worse than the average.
That’s enough methodology. Let’s look at the teams.
SFTV Cricket Fan Show Pre-tournament Rankings
Let’s get into each squad…… all the data tables and top threes are found at the end of the article.
London Spirit (ranked 8th overall)
Eoin Morgan’s ‘what have they sent me?’ gig moves from Kolkata to London.
Batting: ranked 6th.
Top three ranked batters: Zak Crawley, Josh Inglis and Luis Reece.
London Spirit enter the tournament with the lowest team R/I; indeed they are only team with R/I below 23 runs per innings. Their strike rate is also below average too. Overall, it looks like an underpowered batting line up.
There only two batters — Crawley and Inglis — in the Top 25, that puts lots of pressure on them to deliver. However, they do look like very good players and we don’t yet know how many of these you need to be a success in the Hundred. Maybe that’s enough bu it feels light to me, even if I’d say Josh Inglis is one to watch: impressive for Leicestershire this season where he’s shown himself to be a reliable and speedy run scorer in the Blast, following a notable showing in Big Bash 10.
Eoin Morgan leads the Spirit side and, with 41 innings in the data, is one only seven players with 40+ innings in the data, along with team mate Mohammed Nabi (42 inns). Neither show up in the upper reaches of the rankings — Morgan is 40th, Nabi 64th — but Morgan at least is a proven match winner and worth runs for his captaincy and style along. With Morgan at the helm London Spirit won’t die wondering.
Essex boys Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara are also in the squad and will have to outperform the data if the Spirit are to post competitive scores.
On the Cricket Fan Show, Tony fancied the Spirit batters more than I did. We’ll see who’s right.
Bowling: ranked 7th.
Top three ranked bowlers: Mason Crane, Jade Dernbach, Mohammed Nabi.
The Spirit Team bowling data is — let’s be polite — mixed. Their strike rate is outright terrible; the only team with a Top 8 bowlers strike rate over 19 balls per wicket, and at a wicket every 20.5 balls it is way out of line.
Their economy rate is about bang on average, but that is unlikely to be enough to offset the relative rarity of their wicket taking deliveries.
Only Mason Crane is in the top 25 bowlers overall. Dernbach’s box of tricks look effective, if expensive — but a small recent sample size makes him a more risky entity to evaluate. Nabi brings some good economy but not wicket taking.
High profile recruit Mohammed Amir ranks in the bottom 20 bowlers, and with 592 balls bowled he’s one of only 17 bowlers in the 500 ball club. He’ll surely do better than that, but let’s not expect too much.
Spirit can also call on Mark Wood, although the data ranks him pretty middle of the pack we know from experience he can be a difference maker. I expect him to significantly outperform his ranking of 55th.
The Spirit wildcard pick is Blake Cullen. Though only 19 years old he brings some decent form from the 2021 Blast; a smart roll-of-the-dice pick. Cullen shows up in the data with the overall 4th best strike rate, albeit from a small sample. He ranks 38th overall and, if he plays, could have a big impact.
Overall, I expect London Spirit to be a bit light with both bat and ball, though Crawley, Inglis and Morgan may give them enough to bowl at. If Mark Wood fires and Mason Crane breaks through the Spirit might yet be a tricky opponent.
Oval Invincibles (ranked equal 6th overall)
Not enough batting but some interesting bowlers to watch
Batting: ranked 8th.
Top three ranked batters: Will Jacks, Jason Roy, Laurie Evans.
Bottom of the pile for R/I and strike rate. In fact, the Invincibles are way below average for each. This could be a long tournament for the Invincibles batters unless they overturn their collective form.
Only the exciting and recently called-up-but-not-used Will Jacks is in the overall top 25 batters; Jason Roy is a shade outside of that and is one of only eleven players with 1,000+ runs in the data. Roy has good Blast form and we know is a destructive top order player.
The Invincibles can also call on Sam Billings and the Curran brothers — all players who have shown they have the ability to dominate with the bat in the shortest forms of the game.
They can also turn to Rory Burns, a Test player whose data suggests a fish out of water in the short formats: a R/I of 14, and a strike rate of 114 put him outside the top 100 in our ranking.
Bowling: ranked 4th.
Top three ranked bowlers: Sandeep Lamichhane, Reece Topley, Will Jacks.
A better-than-average (but not exceptional) strike rate and economy — enough to make them a solid bowling unit. Middle of the pack stuff.
The Invincibles can call on the top ranked bowler in Nepalese leggie Sandeep Lamichhane — a decent strike rate and a great economy. He’s bowed well in the Big Bash, though has padded his stats a bit with a star turn in the Caribbean Premier League and with some mediocre opponents in T20Is sneaking into the data. He’s good but his top ranking pre-tournament is unlikely to replicated in the tournament itself.
Jacks again shows up as a key player in the bowling rankings and has a great platform to demonstrate his genuine all-rounder credentials. Another one to watch.
They sandwich Reece Topley who is so unlucky with injuries it’ll be good to see him on the pitch. The Invincibles actually have five of the top 25 bowlers — these three plus Middlesex leggie Nathan Sowter and England’s recent white ball hero, Saqib Mahmood. This begins to feel like a better than mid table attack.
But will they put their top ranked bowlers on the pitch? They have the aforementioned Curran brothers, who will undoubtedly adorn large banners around the ground and so are likely to play. Sam shows up decently: 38th overall with so-so economy but a good SR (16.58).
The data shows Tom goes at over 10 and over and actually ranks in the bottom five bowlers overall; he’s bowled almost 480 balls too, so this is a sizeable sample. He’s clearly better than that and, to be fair, the majority of his bowling has been in the IPL and in internationals: unforgiving arenas for any bowler. He’ll have something to prove.
Overall, the Invincibles look light with the bat and a shade underpowered with the ball — though you might have said that about another team with Saqib Mahmood in it recently. Success looks beyond this side this year but there are some players here with points to be proved. Such things can fuel the unexpected.
Birmingham Phoenix (ranked equal 6th overall)
Runs might not be a problem, but enough runs for this attack to defend might be.
Batting: ranked equal 4th.
Top three ranked batters: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Finn Allen, Tom Abell.
The competition’s most average batting unit. Mid table for everything — though from relatively few innings in the data. That may make these aggregate figures the least indicative of any team in the competition.
Daniel Bell-Drummond is definitely one to watch in the tournament. Tops the batter rankings — and in an above average number of innings too. Good strike rate meets an excellent R/I tally. A breakout opportunity for this talent batter.
Finn Allen and Tom Abell also show in overall top 20. 4th ranked Phoenix batter is Liam Livingstone (also in the 1,000 run club) who scores at just under 30 R/I and has a strike rate just under 140; he’s 23rd raked overall and is fresh from taking apart the Pakistan attack.
Also look out for Benny Howell (30th overall), an astute and experienced squad member.
Big names include Moeen Ali (ranked 43rd) who we know can explode with the bat and will surely show up better than that, and Dom Sibley who has virtually no shortest form at all: 3 innings, 7 balls, 4 runs. Ooft.
Bowling: ranked 8th.
Top three ranked bowlers: Imran Tahir, Chris Woakes, Liam Livingstone.
The Phoenix have a much more experienced bowling line up but the numbers really don’t look great. Below average strike rate and economy, which combined makes them a seem an underpowered bowling unit.
In Imran Tahir and Chris Woakes they have unequivocally good bowlers. Tahir has the 4th most balls bowled in the dataset and he’s a clear top 10 bowler. Woakes is top 10 for economy and, as he’s shown for England, is in good white ball form.
Golden arm Livingstone is there. Don’t be deceived into thinking he’s a pure part timer. His 368 deliveries is about average for the dataset, he has a strike rate under 20 and shows good economy. He should bowl.
Moeen and Benny Howell show up as 4th and 5th ranked Phoenix bowlers; 32nd and 44th ranked respectively.
There’s not a lot else — indeed, Tahir has taken 27% of all the Phoenix wickets in the data set. They lack depth if not experience. If you exclude the genuine part-timer, Tom Abell, they remaining four bowlers — wild card Dillon Pennington, Tom Helm, Pat Brown and Adam Milne — have an average of over 300 deliveries bowled each, taking 55 wickets between them in at a strike rate of 22 and an economy of over nine.
Woakes and Tahir have got a lot to do.
Overall, the Phoenix don’t look to have enough bowling to enable the batting line up to win games. They simply look too light with the ball.
Southern Brave (ranked equal 4th overall)
Can their excellent attack keep their underpowered batting line up in the hunt?
Batting: ranked 7th.
Top three ranked batters: Devon Conway, Quinton de Kock, James Vince.
The Brave have a R/I below average and a dreadful strike rate — more than five runs per 100 balls lower than average.
But…..their top three batters are such good players, so what’s going on? Conway — small sample alert — has a R/I rate of over 40, one of only two players to do so. His strike rate is ok.
Similar for de Kock: a good R/I and in the 1,000 runs club; bringing good form to the tournament though so may yet catch fire. James Vince we known is a good player and another 1,000-clubber bringing huge confidence from his recent triumphant foray into the world of ODIs.
After that there’s no-one else ranked in the overall top 50. Keeper Alex Davies is 4th ranked Brave and the 5th? Jofra Archer. Yikes.
There’s not enough batting here meaning there’s a lot of pressure on their big three to fire every time.
Bowling: ranked 1st.
Top three ranked bowlers: Jake Lintott, Tymal Mills, Jofra Archer.
Maybe they’ll be OK, as their bowling line up is so good? The Brave have an average strike rate, but this meets a good economy rate. A handy combination.
Top of the list is Jake Lintott, that rarity: a left arm leg spinner. Lintott is a very smart wildcard pick by the Brave. A good strike rate and great economy makes him a top 10 ranked bowler and definitely one to watch.
Also showing well is T20 specialist speedster Tymal Mills. He has a good strike rate and average-y economy.
England star Jofra Archer makes the top three, assuming his elbow is up to it. Just behind him is another Sussex favourite, Delray Rawlins.
Also in the top 25 overall are Craig Overton and — enough Sussex bowlers already! — George Garton plus experienced left arm tweaker Danny Briggs.
That’s seven bowlers in the Top 25 — with plenty to back them up including Chris Jordan; one of only two bowlers with over 1,000 deliveries in the data set and one of only three bowlers with 50+ wickets.
There’s also Liam Dawson and recent addition Colin de Grandhomme, who is sweeping all before him at the moment and may yet end up as the most influential all-rounder in the competition.
Overall, that’s a hell of a bowling attack and it may be enough to compensate for the light batting line up.
Manchester Originals (ranked equal 4th overall)
A top batting side, can their bowlers keep up?
Batting: ranked 2nd.
Top three ranked batters: Joe Clarke, Jos Buttler, Colin Munro.
Ranked 2nd, the Originals batters bring a standout strike rate and better-than-average R/I to the table.
Jos Buttler is the superstar name, of course. He’s 14th ranked overall for R/I, and an above 140 strike rate shows he means business.
He’s topped in the ranking by Joe Clarke. He brings a range of experience, having played in the last two versions of the Blast, Big Bash 10, the 2021 Pakistan Super League and the Abu Dhabi T10. Very definitely one to watch, with his strike rate of over 180 sustained across 35 innings.
Also in the Originals top three is Kiwi Colin Munro. He’s a bit of a franchise cricket specialist and joins Buttler in the 1,000 run club. An astute overseas signing.
There’s more too: Phil Salt brings good experience, a 140-plus strike rate and the confidence from his unexpected ODI bow. Sam Hain is a good addition too: a fearsome 50 over reputation and ranks in the overall top 25.
Add to this the lower order biff of Jamie Overton, the solid run scoring of Colin Ackermann and the youthful promise of Tom Lammonby. That’s some potential top order.
I hope Lammonby has a good Hundred: we tipped him on the Cricket Fan Show to have a breakout season and promptly cursed him with a run of bad scores for the ages. Sorry Tom!
Bowling: ranked 5th.
Top three ranked bowlers: Lockie Ferguson, Carlos Brathwaite, Matt Parkinson.
The Originals sparkle a little less with the ball. A decent strike rate meets an a-bit-above-average economy. But they’re not without their plus points.
New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson is a standout and another astute signing. Ranked 3rd bowler overall he brings an economy of just over seven and a strike rate of a wicket every 14 balls. That’ll do.
The experienced West Indian Carlos Brathwaite has similar figures too; add a run or ball on to Ferguson and you get Carlos. This also puts him in the top 20.
England’s newest white ball leggie, Matt Parkinson also shows up well and will be another brimming with confidence after his game time in England colours.
Outside the top three, now-veteran Steve Finn is a wily customer who takes wickets at the same rate as Ferguson, making him a dangerous new ball option.
Lancashire left arm spinner Tom Hartley also shows well, with his economy rate of 6.70 making him the 8th most miserly in the data set.
Fred Klaassen, Kent’s Dutch paceman, is a sensible wild card pick. He ranks above the more high profile Jamie Overton and England Test newbie Ollie Robinson. Robinson’s record is on the poor side and I’m sure he can do better — something else to watch out for.
Overall, this is a cracking batting line up and the bowlers seem more dangerous than the aggregate stats suggest. If they can get a handle on their economy rate they might be in with a shout.
Trent Rockets (ranked 3rd overall)
Batting concentrated in some star names, so pressure on them to support a good bowling attack
Batting: ranked 5th.
Top three ranked batters: Alex Hales, Joe Root, Luke Wright.
A slightly underpowered batting unit, a smidge below average for R/I; a bit below for strike rate. But hang on, look at who they have at the top of the order — how can that be?
The Rockets have an interesting dynamic. Boasting the discarded white ball master, Alex Hales — top run scorer in the data set, going at over 30 every time he bats and scoring at well over 160 runs per 100 balls — in the same side as England Test captain, Joe Root.
Root himself ranks top of all batters for R/I — but note it is from a very small sample. That said, we know enough about Root to know this is likely a pretty fair reflection of what he will do for his team. Expecting Root to shine is my least brave prediction.
They are joined in the Rockets top three by veteran Luke Wright. All three are top 20 batters overall.
The 4th ranked Rocket is Dawid Malan, another 1,000 run club member — though interestingly Malan only comes in ranked 44th in these tables. And that’s the Rocket’s problem: even if you fancy Malan to perform better than that, outside of these four admittedly very good batters the rest of the side profiles….average.
Ben Cox and Tom Moores from Worcestershire and Samit Patel all rank pretty solidly upper mid table. Overseas signing, Australian D’arcy Short, ranks a disappointing 61st, with an OK R/I in the low twenties and a bit of a yikes strike rate of just over 120 runs per hundred balls. Get a move on, D’arcy!
Only six of the Rockets batters have a R/I over twenty. That’s not enough to make a really competitive batting line up.
Bowling: ranked equal 2nd.
Top three ranked bowlers: Rashid Khan, Joe Root, Sam Cook.
With a strike rate on the right side of average and a standout economy rate, the Rockets bowling attack looks well-set.
The Rockets can call on Rashid Khan. The most deliveries in the data set, and some 233 more than Chris Jordan in second place, plus the most wickets — this time 25 wickets ahead of Jordan. He is the most experienced and probably the most take-it-to-the-bank performer in the competition. Despite being the busiest bowler, he’s ranked second for economy and takes wickets fewer than every 17 balls. A bona fide superstar.
Joe Root pops up again: small sample but good returns. He should bowl in The Hundred. Also in the Rockets top three is Essex’s Sam Cook; another sensible wildcard pick and one to watch — a solidly good strike rate of 16.3 and an economy below eight. He’s in the top 20 overall ranking — with his potential new ball partner Dutch-Australian Timm van der Gugten in at 22nd.
Lewis Gregory might have something to say too after his star turn in England colours, although he ranks a surprisingly lowly 59th in the overall rankings — not helped by his Big Bash 10 record being in the data; his Blast figures are much more like it.
Late replacement (for Wahab Riaz) Marchant de Lange is a good, solid 31st ranked, with Stephen Mullaney in 32nd.
When Rashid is between spells, the Rockets can also call on the experience of Samit Patel. As one of only eight bowlers with more than 700 deliveries bowled in the data set, no-one will have a more seen-it-all-before spin attack than the Rockets.
Overall I fancy the Rockets to do well. The batting is tasty, if not quite as loaded as some teams, and the bowling features Rashid Khan. That might be a winning combination.
Welsh Fire (ranked 2nd overall)
An excellent batting line up though a mixed bag bowling attack.
Batting: ranked 1st.
Top three ranked batters: Glenn Phillips, Iain Cockbain, Jonny Bairstow.
The best batting side in the competition. Excelling with both weight and speed of run scoring.
Glenn Phillips is another one to watch: the NZ all-rounder and 1,000 run club member is prolific and goes at a strike rate of over 150; the third ranked batter overall.
Iain Cockbain is a Gloucestershire stalwart and a smart selection; very similar return as Phillips. And also there’s Jonny Bairstow: hugely experienced in the shorter form, a very consistent run scorer and the third Fire player in the Top 10. Another genuine superstar.
The hopefully-fit Ollie Pope ranks next, also in the overall Top 20, and they’re backed up by some real talent: Tom Banton, Ben Duckett and local Glamorgan hero David Lloyd — all ranked in the top 35 overall — that’s a good line up.
Bowling: ranked 5th.
Top three ranked bowlers: Liam Plunkett, Glenn Phillips, Jake Ball.
A bowling attack of two halves: the best wicket takers in terms of strike rate — but the most expensive bowing attack; the only side to go for more than eight an over as a unit.
Old stager Plunkett shows very well in the data; the 2nd ranked bowler overall. Maybe age will have wearied him a little but it’s a fine recent record.
Phillips shows up again very well — top 10 with ball as well as bat.
And Jake Ball, all I can say is: strike rate off Baywatch, economy rate off Crimewatch.
There’s good solid back up to these three from county stalwarts rather than international stars, particularly Ryan Higgins and David Payne.
Northants’ been-around-for-ever Josh Cobb also shows up with a great (5th overall) economy rate, though wicket taking isn’t really his forte.
Increasingly talked about leggie Matt Critchley is also on hand: he’s got a cracking (top 20 overall) economy rate but has a strike rate heading towards 30.
About those international stars…. Jimmy Neesham is in the Fire squad, but his numbers — a wicket every 30 balls and an economy rate touching ten an over — suggest hopes should not be too high for an impact. He’s surely going to be more effective than that, though.
Overall, Welsh Fire are little unpredictable. Strong batting, a secretly-excellent all-rounder in Phillips and wicket taking bowling looks good. But squint from the other direction and the bowling is expensive and there’s a lot of potential with the bat — but potential doesn’t always pay the rent.
Northern Superchargers (ranked 1st overall)
Good with bat and ball — but will they put the right side on the pitch?
Batting: ranked 3rd.
Top three ranked batters: Harry Brook, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Adam Lyth.
A little light on recent experience at the crease with just 203 innings in the dataset. Nonetheless, the R/I is excellent and the strike rate is well above average. A good batting unit.
Three Yorkshiremen lead the way for the Superchargers. Emerging star Harry Brook is establishing himself as heavy scorer and, with a 150+ strike rate, he gets them quickly. A coming star, he’s definitely one to watch.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore has a similar profile. The Cricket Fan Show have been impressed with for some time as he stood out in the Abu Dhabi T10 earlier this year.
The experienced Adam Lyth also makes the top three — he scores in the high twenties but goes at a slightly quicker rate.
All three may be benefitting from a small sample in the data. However, with the exceptions of 4th ranked 1,000 run club member Faf du Plessis and 5th ranked Chris Lynn (SR 150+), who each have more than 30 innings in the data set, you could level that at the whole side.
That includes Ben Stokes, who has just 23 innings in the dataset. He’s a decent run scorer (R/I of 26) but is surprisingly nothing special strike rate-wise. He comes in ranked 36th overall. Don’t blame me, blame the numbers!
Nonetheless, the Superchargers have a squad who go fast: Jordan Thompson has an overall top 10 strike rate, going at 172 runs per 100 balls; Bryson Carse is a 150+ merchant and David Willey — on the smallest of samples — goes over 160.
This might not be the absolute best batting line up in the competition but it looks explosive and, when it comes off, the Supercharger are sure to set some commanding totals.
Bowling: ranked equal 2nd.
Top three ranked bowlers: David Willey, Callum Parkinson, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
A good bowling attack: a strike rate under 17 is only matched by Welsh Fire; the economy rate is also above average.
David Willey leads the way. A relatively small sample size helps him a bit but a strike rate under 12 coupled with a decent economy rate is enough to make him a top 5 bowler overall. We know he’s good.
Callum Parkinson, Leicestershire’s left arm spinner, ranks 14th overall; his economy of 7.03 is notably good. I make Callum a bowler to watch every bit as much as twin brother Matt — if he gets game time. I’m having him as one to watch.
The Afghan off spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman is the 3rd ranked Supercharger. His 834 balls bowled make him the 4th busiest bowler in the data set and he’s consistent enough to be ranked in the top 25 overall.
All spin options are covered: pillar of the England white ball side, Adil Rashid, is also a Supercharger. He ranks just in the top 40 overall but will likely bring control if not always wickets.
One the pace front, Stokes and Carse are likely starters — and don’t show up that well in the rankings as Stokes is expensive and Carse is not a prolific wicket taker.
Lesser known bowlers with better rankings — Durham’s Matty Potts (ranked 25th) and Yorkshire’s Matt Fisher (ranked 36th) show better form but may miss out to the bigger names, especially if the Superchargers’ team selections play to their spin strengths.
That might also mean limited game time for Durham stalwart and wild card pick Ben Raine and Yorkshire’s bowling all-rounder Jordan Thompson — though his top 40 batting ranking makes him a good bet to earn a slot in the lower middle order.
There are some smart selections in the Superchargers attack — but will the form bowlers play?
Overall, I have a feeling the Superchargers will be in the shake-up at the end of the tournament. Good batting, an interesting and varied attack, form players pushing for inclusion and the star power of Mike-Brearley-du-jour, Ben Stokes, giving everyone a boost and belief. A strong team who can expect to do well.
A new competition is hard to predict. I’m hoping for totals in the 130s and 140s; based on the players’ strike rates in T20 and T10 this should be well within reach of most teams.
Teams will find ways that work within the new format that possibly don’t in T20. Maybe we’ll see spinners opening up and quicker bowlers only at the death — but when does ‘the death’ start in the Hundred? The captain that gets that right first might have a competitive advantage that bridges any talent gap, at least for a few rounds.
In general the sides look quite evenly matched and that bodes well for close matches. The absence of some of the world’s biggest stars is a shame, perhaps, but there are plenty of interesting players to watch. New names will emerge, of that I’m sure.
Throughout the Hundred, the SFTV Cricket Fan Show will be covering tournament, including livestream watch-a-longs for some matches.
We’ll be compiling our Hundred power rankings as the games progress, keeping tabs on who is having the biggest impact in the competition.
The SFTV Cricket Fan Show is live on Twitch every Thursday, 8pm UK time. Mac hosts and is joined by Steve and Tony. We’re on every week all year round.
The show is also available as a recording on YouTube and, as a podcast, on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
Appendix: Data Tables
Batting: Team Data & Ranking
Batting: Team Top Three Ranked Batters
Bowling: Team Data & Ranking
Bowling: Team Top Three Ranked Bowlers