CricViz have teamed up with Sage to provide some tips and tricks into how to nail your team selection.
As the 2022 Men’s Hundred builds towards its climax, Fantasy players will be looking to recruit the very best performers from the remaining teams: Manchester Originals, London Spirit, and Trent Rockets. Two games, three teams – and only one winner.
In very basic terms, Fantasy players should be focused on getting players from London Spirit and Manchester Originals, given that – quite simply – they have the opportunity to play two matches, given they are both involved in the Eliminator on Friday night, while Trent Rockets advance straight to the final at Lord’s on Saturday.
With that in mind, Phil Salt stands out as a key potential option. Salt has been brilliant this season for Manchester Originals, scoring 313 runs and striking at over 150. In particular, he’s been great in the early Powerplay overs: 166 runs, at a 166 strike rate, only once dismissed. With London Spirit’s new ball bowling not their major strength, it’s reasonable to expect some more carnage off the bat of Salt – get him into your side if you can. Salt’s major weakness – across his career at least – is that he struggles against leg spin, but Spirit’s leg spinner Mason Crane does not tend to bowl in the early overs, so Salt should have a free run to get stuck into the seamers that he prefers.
One man who has struggled this season is Nathan Ellis. He had an excellent Blast campaign for Hampshire and was an exciting pick-up for London Spirit, particularly given he was only a late replacement rather than an in-draft pick. However, he’s struggled, conceding more than 200 runs from his 150 deliveries, and taking just five wickets across the eight-match group stage. Manchester’s lower order is not as powerful as their top order, and so Ellis may find the challenge on Friday night a touch easier than he has against other more well-stocked batting line-ups, but including him in your squad is a gamble at this stage – maybe consider other options.
Another good general point to consider is that Lord’s and the Ageas Bowl, the two venues for the play-off matches, have been among the lowest scoring in the 2022 Men’s Hundred season. Indeed, the overall strike rate at the Ageas (134) and at Lord’s (130) are the third and second lowest scoring venues in the tournament, respectively. With the significance of the fixtures, you would expect both grounds to be producing ‘better’, higher scoring pitches for the knockout games, but you would be foolish not to consider the broad characteristics of these two host venues when picking your side.
Looking ahead to that final, and to the Trent Rockets who already find themselves locked in having topped the table in the group stage, the standout performer is still Dawid Malan. The England international has been outstanding this year, scoring 358 runs across the eight matches, more than any other player in the competition. In Fantasy terms, that’s clearly significant, but he’s also hit more sixes (20) than everyone in the tournament barring Adam Lyth (who also stands on 20) – that’s another hugely valuable resource. Malan is also a lovely option given the game will take place at Lord’s, Malan’s home ground for many years when playing for Middlesex, and a venue which – given its short square boundaries – is particularly well suited to maximising his powerful slog sweeps. Malan is in the form of his life – there’s no reason to expect this to change.
To flip things around, and look at the bowling options in Trent Rockets’ squad, Luke Wood stands out. With five Powerplay wickets to his name in the Hundred this season, Wood is among the most prolific new ball bowlers we have seen over the last few weeks – indeed, only Tom Helm has more Powerplay wickets to his name. Manchester Originals and London Spirit have both made clear efforts to get off to rapid, highly aggressive starts with the bat, and that leaves gaps – Wood is probably the best placed to exploit them.