There will be a new winner in the men’s competition in The Hundred this season – but in the women’s tournament we could still see a back-to-back champion.
Oval Invincibles stormed to the inaugural title last season, flattening Southern Brave at Lord’s in the final as they rolled their opponents for 73.
Fast forward just over 12 months and the Invincibles are back in the game for the trophy – again against Brave – and this time around their progress has been a little less harrowing.
The day of the final hundred, live on Sky Sports
- Women’s Final – Oval Invincibles vs. Southern Brave (3 p.m.)
- Men’s Final – Trent Rockets vs. Manchester Originals (6:30 p.m.)
The hundred live
Friday, September 2, 2:30 p.m.
The hundred live
Friday September 2 6:00 p.m.
They didn’t need to go through the Eliminator after topping the group with a 32-point win over Manchester Originals in their last league game.
There are very few weaknesses in the composition of the Invincibles.
Experienced openers in Suzie Bates and Lauren Winfield-Hill, who both topped 200 runs this season.
A South African trio they can call on with franchise captain Dane van Niekerk, winner of last year’s game in the final Marizanne Kapp and fast seamscorer Shabnim Ismail.
Teenage kicks for Capsey and Smale
Oh, and some very talented teenagers too.
Alice Capsey burst onto the scene last summer with a fifty on her Lord’s debut aged 16 and, after making her England T20 international debut this summer, went on to impress in The Hundred.
Whether it’s scoring runs with confident reverse sweeps or powerful groundstrokes, picking up wickets with her offset or making interventions on the pitch, the 18-year-old once again underlined that she is a star in the making.
“I really enjoy batting with Capsey,” said New Zealand veteran Bates. “Alice attacks right and that makes my job easy. You want her to play on instinct, be really brave with all the punches she has.”
Capsey’s form was probably expected. Less than that of Sophia Smale, seventeen.
Smale was just a late call-up in The Hundred as a replacement from injury and perhaps thought the tournament could be a case of soaking in the environment rather than turning his arm over.
But she has featured in each of the Invincibles’ six matches so far, taking seven wickets with her left-arm fit at a healthy 6.05 save rate. In all but one game, she played on the power play. The only game she didn’t make, against Brave, was the only game the Invincibles lost.
Talk to The cricketer Recently, Smale said: “I just try to throw my best ball. As a spinner you have to accept that sometimes you will go for a run, especially when you are playing the best in the world.
“But I like the challenge of bowling with the best hitters. I like knowing that my margin for error is so small. I think that makes me a bit more focused.
“I would have taken just to do well. To do really well, I don’t really know how it happened. Maybe it’s because people don’t know what to expect.”
Masterful Malan as Rockets reach final
If you add Capsey and Smale’s ages together, you get 35, which is what the Trent Rockets’ Dawid Malan did on Finals day.
His runs were crucial for his side to reach this stage, where they will now face Manchester Originals following the Originals’ win over London Spirit in Friday’s Eliminator.
No one can match Malan’s 338 runs in the tournament. No one can match his four fiftieth birthdays. He has the third and fourth highest scores of 98 not eliminated and 88 undefeated respectively. Malan’s strike rate is also a very healthy 172.11, passing his opening partner Alex Hales.
Malan said after his 98 against Manchester Originals: “We know more about The Hundred than last year.
“Last year we approached it a bit like a T20, but there are fewer balls here and you want to get ahead of the game as fast as possible, so you’re willing to take more risks. early to place you above the required running rate.”
Malan helped the Rockets win six of their eight group games to reach the final, their only blemishes coming at home against Brave in Southampton and Birmingham Phoenix in Edgbaston.
The Rockets, like the women’s team the Invincibles, earned themselves an extra day off by passing the group and securing an immediate move to Lord’s – but that proved a curse last year with the two leaders table, the Brave women and the Phoenix men, ultimately losing in the finals.
The Capsey and Smale Invincibles and the Malan Rockets remain the teams to beat. Now they have to make sure it’s not the teams that are beaten.
Watch Finals Day in The Hundred from 2.30pm on Saturday on Sky Sports The Hundred and via free streams on skysports.com, the Sky Sports app and the Sky Sports Cricket YouTube channel. The women’s final starts at 3 p.m. and the men’s match at 6:30 p.m.