Why the Hundred can encourage teams to reverse the batting order – with little risk
And so, when Roy threw the second ball of the game for one, Curran was ready to attack Tom Hartley’s left arm darts. After fending off a Yorker at Hartley, Curran galloped across the court on second ball and threw it longer for six. That was what Curran was there for: he perished cutting the next ball, for six runs on three balls.
When Curran was fired, Oval doubled down on his plan. Rather than Jacks or Evans, they used Narine at three, to continue Curran’s attack on the rotation while maintaining a left-right split at the crease. It did not work: Narine found no ease and was wrongly awarded lbw – he did not review – fifth ball for two.
Yet while Curran and Narine contributed just eight points between them, they had absorbed just eight balls. Both of their roles were best viewed as low-risk, high-potential bets: for both, the consequences of only lasting a few balls were trivial, but hitting even for 10 balls could have shaped the game.
Using the pair was a window into the Invincibles’ approach. Recognizing the low danger of being knocked out, the Invincibles prioritized maximizing the run scoring opportunities offered by Powerplay rather than minimizing lost wickets. With Sam Billings and Colin Ingram – along with Roy, their two most experienced hitters on the T20 Tour – at five and six, and Evans a firewall at seven, the Invincibles had some insurance when they lost three wickets. in the Powerplay, then four in the first 34 balls. Attacking in this manner can lead to occasional ignominy, but over the course of a season it should also maximize a team’s score.
Manchester Originals embodied a more traditional approach to building a batting team in short format cricket. A top four of Phil Salt, Jos Buttler, Joe Clarke and Colin Munro is bursting with power and class. But the lack of depth in the batting order – number seven Calvin Harrison has scored just 50 points in his T20 career – encouraged the top four to try and finish the job themselves, which meant starting slower. . Manchester scored six points less than the Invincibles in Powerplay – two-thirds of their final defeat margin.
The shorter the format of cricket, the greater the relative value of the fast scoring and the less important it is to protect the wickets. It was a truth that, even in the midst of a messy and imperfect display, came through the Invincibles’ batting approach. And so it was only fitting that, even if they beat them, the Invincibles lost more wickets than Manchester: a justification for embracing the risk-taking that the format demands.