CricViz have teamed up with Sage to provide some tips and tricks into how to nail your team selection.
After the opening matches of the men’s Hundred, we have seen some stellar performances, and for fantasy players there have been some clear trends to follow. With plenty of sides still finding their feet in terms of selection, we know plenty of you are in the same boat.
Pace Over Spin
In general, the early games have been dominated by seamers, not spinners. The quick bowlers have gone at 1.3 runs per ball, while spinners have gone at 1.5rpb; similarly, in terms of averages, we’ve seen the quicks average 24 while spin has averaged 33. These might seem like small differences, but on pitches which have been a touch more sluggish than anticipated, changes of pace from fast bowlers has been a great option. If you have packed your attack with spin options, then maybe taking a second look at your XI might be worthwhile.
An understandable question for many during the 2021 season of The Hundred was: What’s A Good Score? As it was, scores were around what we’d expect, averaging a strike rate of 138 across the season. This year, we aren’t really seeing any great shift, with that average strike rate rising to 140, with teams scoring marginally more quickly. Some players may have gambled on a second year of the new rules seeing scores rising, with batters a little more familiar with the challenges involved, and prioritising batters as a consequence, but so far we’re seeing no real change.
Livingstone Starts Brightly
In our pre-season preview, we mentioned that Liam Livingstone was a high profile pick that you would be a fool to leave out of your side – and so it has turned out. Livingstone smashed five sixes in his opening match, and rewarded anyone who backed the Phoenix all-rounder from the get go. It was an innings very much in the classic Livingstone mould, ultra-aggressive and never backing down – Livingstone faced 28 balls in his innings, and attacked 19 of them. With the ball, two economical overs also brought a wicket, highlighting his all-round capability and the opportunity he brings to score points in all areas of the game.
Invincibles All-Round Efforts
The outstanding individual performance of the opening weekend was Will Jacks’ match-winning 81 against Welsh Fire. A sunny Sunday afternoon in Cardiff was the perfect spot for the Invincibles opener to come of age as a white ball batter, showcasing his range of powerful strokes, particularly targeting the short straight boundary at Sophia Gardens. What was notable about Jacks’ knock was that he matched a ferocious level of aggression with a clever understanding of the conditions, and management of risk. Only 4% of the balls bowled to Jacks brought a false shot, well below the match average of 21%. The pitch in Cardiff was two-paced, and Jacks adapted – a sure sign he’s accelerated his development, and is on the rise.
Jacks hasn’t been the only Oval Invincible to shine in the opening days. Tom Curran has been excellent, both with the bat (27 off 15 against London Spirit) and with the ball (2-14 against Welsh Fire), and has been a key part of their impressive performances. Curran’s a reliable, consistent performer at this level, and offers great value for those backing him into their side. For those looking for aggressive value, the pace and threat of Oval Invincibles seamer Mohammed Hasnain has been clear to see. Two wickets in two games doesn’t scream outstanding performances, but it’s been the naked speed of Hasnain’s bowling that will have people excited. Of the 15 quickest balls in the competition so far, the Pakistani quick has delivered 12 of them, hitting 140kph regularly in the two games we’ve seen. If he can convert that speed into wickets, then he is a great buy for those gambling on a less experienced performer.
The coming days will see other teams coming into play, with Northern Superchargers playing three matches in seven days. After they came out on top in their opening match, Faf du Plessis’ side offer plenty of value for those wanting to pile in on their early success. Proven performers like Adil Rashid and David Willey, as well as less high profile guys like Adam Hose and Callum Parkinson, could be great shouts for the immediate future.