THE HUNDRED: Where Do Teams Need To Strengthen?

Yesterday’s look at the teams’ remaining budgets and key “free agents” begs the obvious question: where do the different sides need to strengthen?

The tables below map out some of the key metrics, with the colourisation indicating where teams are weak (red) and where they are strong (green). The tables are also ordered by an average of all the different indicators.

Stats aren’t everything, of course – in The Hundred, as with most cricket tournaments, it is also about handling the pressure to win big games, as the Invincibles did so convincingly in the semi-final and final in 2021. But the numbers always tell a tale nonetheless, and it is one the teams should be studying carefully.

The key story that stands out here is that as well as needing a wicket-keeper, the Invincibles desperately need to strengthen their batting – they are 100% a bowling side, topping the bowling table and coming flat-last in the batting table. With no overseas picks remaining, this is going to be tough – for obvious reasons, the other sides have mostly held onto their key local batters. Perhaps they will need to gamble and use the “wildcard” overseas pick? (But that would mean leaving one of Kapp, van Niekerk or Ismail on the bench!) Or is their bowling good enough that they can just rely on blowing everyone else away in key games once again? It is certainly a dilemma for their management to be pondering!

Last year’s group-stage winners, Southern Brave – first in batting, and second in bowling – probably just need to keep doing what they are doing, but get better at winning the big games. The 2021 final was a bitter pill for them, but as their coach Charlotte Edwards says: “There are good days and school days!” so hopefully it was a learning experience their 10 retained players can take into 2022.

Following the retentions announcement, there was some surprise that London Spirit let Tammy Beaumont, Deandra Dottin and Chloe Tryon all go; but the stats bear this out – their batting didn’t really click last season, and they’ve got all 3 overseas picks now to put that right.

A key metric which is not addressed directly by these numbers is fielding, but one possible proxy is the number of twos conceded when bowing. Southern Brave look good on that front, but Manchester Originals really need a gun fielder or two, and letting Mignon du Preez (who is a gun fielder) go unretained was an “interesting” move given that.

Finally, standing back to look more generally at these numbers, we do see clearly that T20 (which The Hundred basically is) is perhaps not the game of superstar batters that we always seem to think it is. It is something that Aussie commentator Chris Brooker (worth following on Twitter) has been saying about the women’s game in particular for some time, and it is one of those where the more you look at the actual numbers, the more it seems to stand out. Oval Invincibles won the trophy with their bowling, despite being the weakest batting side; and although Superchargers had by some distance the outstanding individual batter in the tournament – Jemimah Rodrigues – that wasn’t enough to carry their batting, or for them to reach the knockout stages. Perhaps it is time for a wider re-evaluation of the way we look at the game and select our teams?

Batting Balls Per… Avg Run Rate
Wicket Dot Single Two Four Six 1st Ins 2nd Ins PP
Brave 22 2.88 2.59 15 8 47 8.14 7.42 6.69
Originals 23 2.76 2.68 19 8 57 7.64 7.74 8.07
Phoenix 15 2.92 2.75 13 7 89 7.92 8.13 8.14
Rockets 17 2.72 2.60 23 7 40 8.23 6.98 7.52
Superchargers 18 2.89 2.63 15 6 112 7.51 8.80 6.48
Fire 15 2.88 2.47 16 9 91 6.76 8.10 7.21
Spirit 15 2.72 2.84 16 7 98 6.13 8.11 6.97
Invincibles 18 2.65 2.70 20 8 92 7.34 6.97 6.19
©CRICKETher.com/cricsheet.org
Bowling Balls Per… Avg Run Rate
Wicket Dot Single Two Four Six 1st Ins 2nd Ins PP
Invincibles 15 2.45 2.77 17 8 153 7.03 5.92 5.81
Brave 19 2.65 2.65 23 9 111 6.92 6.98 7.38
Spirit 23 2.60 2.80 22 7 54 7.59 7.03 6.55
Rockets 18 3.04 2.60 16 7 59 7.68 8.25 6.69
Originals 20 2.82 2.77 12 8 51 7.33 8.38 6.07
Phoenix 21 3.12 2.44 14 7 70 7.74 8.00 8.24
Superchargers 22 3.00 2.57 17 7 61 8.39 7.73 8.57
Fire 24 2.97 2.69 17 6 60 8.67 8.21 7.88
©CRICKETher.com/cricsheet.org