Match Preview | The Hundred | M#1 - Oval Invincibles vs Northern Superchargers
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Cricket Queens
The defending champions Oval Invincibles meet Northern Superchargers in M#1 of the Women's Hundred. Both teams have made a few changes to their squad with the Superchargers looking stronger on paper. With teams allowed to have four overseas players this year, both have looked to strengthen their squads from the last year.
Oval has added Suzie Bates in order to strengthen their opening combination as Georgia Adams has moved to the Southern Brave.
Superchargers have added Alyssa Healy (originally drafted for the Hundred 2021) & Heather Graham (from Trent Rockets) and released Laura Kimmince.
VENUE: Kennington Oval, London
The venue is considered good for the batters, but we have had plenty of cricket played here as we are at the fag end of the England domestic season. Last year, the average 1st innings score was just 116, but that was mainly down to the teams not having strong XIs & showing enough intent. I expect the 116 mark to be breached in tomorrow's game, especially if Superchargers are batting first.
- It will come as a surprise if Oval are able to defend their title this year. While their side looks stronger than the last year, their increase in strength is still significantly lower than most of the teams.
- One of the bigger concerns for them is their South African trio. Captain Dane van Niekerk is coming back after a long overhaul. While Marizanne Kapp & Shabnim Ismail have had too much cricket lately with their heavy workload having a potential of causing injury or fatigue which could result in a pullout at some stage.
- The positive for Oval comes in the form of Alice Capsey & Aylish Cranstone. Capsey started the season with a lull, but was quick to turn things around in the RHF Trophy & she never looked back ever since. She got a call-up to England's squad for the South Africa series followed by the CWG. Knight's injury sealed her place & she ensured that she made the most out of it. Meanwhile, Cranstone has enjoyed a bumper domestic season. The left-hander knows how to pace her innings beautifully, and knows when to put the foot on the pedal & hit the big shots. What stood out the best for me was how she ran between the wickets to convert non-existent singles to 1s, 1s to 2s, & even 2s to 3s.
- If Oval look for variety in their spin attack, then Sophia Smale is the only SLAO in the team who was drafted in late as a replacement.
There's always a trend with Marizanne Kapp with most of the teams. She does not play the first few games & we could see the same tomorrow. While Cranstone is a gun top-order bat, she might be forced to bat lower down the order. If Winfield-Hill keeps the wickets, then Oval might field one of Kirstie White or Emily Windsor ahead of Kira Chathli.
1) Suzie Bates, 2) Lauren Winfield-Hill, 3) Alice Capsey, 4) Dane van Niekerk, 5) Aylish Cranstone, 6) Kira Chathli (wk), 7) Mady Villiers, 8) Grace Gibbs, 9) Eva Gray, 10) Danielle Gregory, 11) Shabnim Ismail
- Superchargers has only one of the three Indian players this year, and it's a mini-rocket in Jemimah Rodrigues. Jemimah was instrumental for the Superchargers last year as she scored heavily for the team. So why wouldn't you retain a player who has the competition's 2nd highest run-scorer after the Invincibles, Dane van Niekerk? Jemimah's impact came in the middle-phase where she scored a serious number of runs to be the most impactful player in that phase with an average of 157 (#1) and an SR of 174 (#1).
- Along with Jemimah, Laura Wolvaardt also was retained by the team. A classy player with the ability to do well as an opener & at #3 & 4 as well. What role do the Superchargers give Wolvaardt will determine their playing XI.
- Jemimah & Wolvaardt are both slow starters and they were accompanied by the big-hitting Laura Kimmince who followed them. This year, they have Alyssa Healy who'd be setting the tone before these two players walk in & that's where the game changes! Healy's been struggling to buy runs for quite a few years now in the shortest format, but I fully expect her to enjoy the home ground at Leeds. The fact that this is franchise cricket shall provide her a lot of freedom her to find her mojo back.
- Northern Superchargers, Northern Diamonds, Yorkshire - They are all the same! They thrive with their spinners & that will be the exact thing happening in this format too with the likes of Katie Levick, Linsey Smith, & Hollie Armitage running the game with the spinners from other regional teams in Kalea Moore & Lucy Higham supporting them with their off-spin.
- The Gunn player is back! England's version of Jhulan Goswami is never out of form. The tall lanky player is always amongst the wickets & using her long levers to score runs.
There are two absolute gun openers in England cricket who are intent++ in the PP. One is Marie Kelly, & the other is Bethany Harmer. Interestingly, both play for the same regional team & open the innings. If Harmer's value is realized & backed, then Wolvaardt will play a role at #4 than as an opener. Kalea Moore adds a lot of value as an off-spinner & could be considered to add a variety in the spin department of wrist-spin (Katie Levick & Hollie Armitage) & left-arm spin (Linsey Smith). Bess Heath & Kira Chathli are in the same boat with other wicket-keepers in their respective side. But, Bess Heath is almost a certain starter despite Healy taking the gloves.
If Wolvaardt is seen asked to play at #4 like Adelaide Strikers:
1) Alyssa Healy (wk), 2) Bethany Harmer, 3) Jemimah Rodrigues, 4) Laura Wolvaardt, 5) Alice Davidson-Richards, 6) Bess Heath, 7) Hollie Armitage, 8) Jenny Gunn, 9) Linsey Smith, 10) Beth Langston, 11) Katie Levick
If Wolvaardt opens:
1) Alyssa Healy (wk), 2) Laura Wolvaardt, 3) Jemimah Rodrigues, 4) Alice Davidson-Richards, 5) Bess Heath, 6) Kalea Moore, 7) Hollie Armitage, 8) Jenny Gunn, 9) Linsey Smith, 10) Beth Langston, 11) Katie Levick
I have my doubts over the Invincibles despite them being the defending champions & starting their campaign at home. Superchargers look much more superior & well-rounded to win the match.