- The Hundred - Birmingham Phoenix v Welsh Fire (Men and Women)
- Thursday August 10, 2023, 3pm-6.30pm
This has been one weird competition, and through no one’s fault. The recent rain has condensed a campaign which was already short and sharp with only eight group games, and it’s given some teams no room for manoeuvre.
Look at Birmingham men as an example. They had their first two games finish in No Results, playing only 62 balls across the fixtures combined.
They then lost comfortably to Manchester Originals at Emirates Old Trafford earlier this week, and they’re now languishing towards the bottom as a result. They will likely have to win four of their remaining five games to qualify for the knockouts.
Fire, meanwhile, are one of only five teams across both the men’s and women’s events who have avoided a No Result. They have so far won one, lost one and tied the other.
I like the look of the Fire to win this one, and they’re a best price of 6/5 with a host of firms, including Betfred.
I think they’ve got a pretty decent balance to their team and look especially strong with the ball - led by Pakistani pacers Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf.
The only thing I’d like to see is one more power hitter in their top order which last time out consisted of Joe Clarke, Luke Wells, Stevie Eskinazi, Tom Abell and Glenn Phillips.
A pair of Ladbrokes 9/2 shots appeal
There are a couple of punts which I can see the value in with this company, but before I do I’d like to visit bet365 for their player performance market.
They’re offering 5/6 for Welsh Fire wicketkeeper-opener Joe Clarke to top 28.5 points, a marker he has cleared in his last two games, including one in which he got a duck.
It’s a point a run, 25 per stumping and and 10 per catch. I would be taking that every time.
Speaking of Nottinghamshire’s Clarke, that brings us to the first of two Ladbrokes bets. They are offering a 9/2 price boost on him to score a fifty in the match.
He scored 69 off 46 balls in Sunday’s tie against the Invincibles at the Oval, and I think he’s a fantastic player - one who fuses power with poise.
Again, another 9/2 shot comes via Ladbrokes’ #GetAPrice selections. That is for Shaheen Afridi to take three wickets or more in the match. He hasn’t done that yet, but he has claimed five wickets in three matches - two wickets in two of the games - and has looked excellent.
Katie can for Phoenix women
I actually think the women’s game is a pretty tough one to call. They’re two evenly matched sides. If I was pushed, I’d say Fire. But I wouldn’t be taking them at odds on, like they are.
Instead, I’m just going to give you one suggestion. That’s to side with Birmingham leg-spinner Katie Levick. She has taken 330 wickets in her domestic career, and is one of the most prolific active bowlers in English pro cricket at present.
She has claimed three wickets in two games for Phoenix in the last week, was their top bowler in defeat against Manchester last time out with 2-12, and Ladbrokes have her at 7/2 to be their top bowler again. I’d be taking that.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.