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The Hundred – men’s preview: Will Southern Brave retain the title or will there be a new name on trophy? | Cricket News

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The 2022 edition of The Hundred is nearly upon us – the Southern Brave men beginning their title defence on Wednesday night against Oval Invincibles, live on Sky Sports – but will there be a new name on trophy this year? We take a look at the eight teams vying for the title…

Birmingham Phoenix

Last year’s finish: Runners-up (lost to Southern Brave in the final)
First game: vs Trent Rockets (Saturday 6 August, 2.30pm)
Home ground: Edgbaston
Head coach: Daniel Vettori

Overseas players: Matthew Wade (Australia), Adam Milne (New Zealand), Kane Richardson (Australia), Imran Tahir (South Africa)

Rest of squad: Moeen Ali (captain), Chris Woakes, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Benny Howell, Tom Abell, Matthew Fisher, Will Smeed, Chris Benjamin, Miles Hammond, Graeme van Buuren, Henry Brookes, Dan Mousley

Ahead of the second edition of the Hundred, check out some of the star names to watch out for in this year's competition

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Ahead of the second edition of the Hundred, check out some of the star names to watch out for in this year’s competition

Ahead of the second edition of the Hundred, check out some of the star names to watch out for in this year’s competition

Players to watch: There is only one starting point when it comes to Phoenix, and that’s their do-it-all skipper Moeen Ali. Moeen was the fourth-highest scorer with 225 runs in seven matches, producing some memorable displays of big-hitting. The 35-year-old may have been slightly disappointed at his haul of four wickets but maintained a fine economy of 7.28.

The main attraction for the Phoenix – and perhaps the whole men’s tournament – was England batter Liam Livingstone. He was in a league of his own with 348 runs at an average of 58 and has gone on to establish himself as a feared member of the national team.

While the Phoenix have an eye-catching selection of overseas players, Imran Tahir’s show-stopping performances in last year’s tournament, which included its first hat-trick, make him the box-office attraction.

Prospects for this season: After topping the group stage to qualify for last year’s final, Phoenix know they are capable of producing results. While their team lacks the superstar names of some of their rivals, the balanced nature of their squad is likely to make them contenders once more.

Let the Minions explain how The Hundred works!

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Let the Minions explain how The Hundred works!

Let the Minions explain how The Hundred works!

London Spirit

Last year’s finish: Eighth in group stage
First game: vs Oval Invincibles (Thursday 4 August, 6.30pm)
Home ground: Lord’s
Head coach: Trevor Bayliss

Overseas players: Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Glenn Maxwell (Australia)*, Nathan Ellis (Australia), Ben McDermott (Australia)

Rest of squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Zak Crawley, Mark Wood, Liam Dawson, Dan Lawrence, Jordan Thompson, Mason Crane, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Chris Wood, Adam Rossington, Ravi Bopara, Toby Roland-Jones, Brad Wheal, Jamie Smith

*Josh Inglis (Australia) will replace Glenn Maxwell when the latter is on international duty

Australia's Glenn Maxwell adds some firepower to the London Spirit batting ranks

Australia’s Glenn Maxwell adds some firepower to the London Spirit batting ranks

Players to watch: Kieron Pollard and Glenn Maxwell pitch up at Lord’s with considerable T20 tournament pedigree, albeit if, aged 35 and 33 respectively, their best years are behind them. The same can’t be said for 22-year-old hot Surrey prospect Jamie Smith, who arrives as a wildcard pick this year – keep an eye out for his precocious batting talents.

The Spirit bowling attack, meanwhile, has a real Finals Day feel to it as Messrs Wood, Wheal, Dawson and Crane all formed part of Hampshire’s title-winning team in the Vitality Blast this year. As did Australian seamer, Nathan Ellis, who had the lowest economy rate among seamers in the tournament this season (6.87 runs an over) – such stinginess proving absolutely vital as he successfully defended 11 in the last over of a thrilling win over Lancashire in the final itself (even in spite of his no-ball faux pas on what was initially thought to be the last ball).

The Sky Sports commentators were beside themselves as Hampshire claimed a dramatic one-run victory with the last ball of Vitality Blast final!

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The Sky Sports commentators were beside themselves as Hampshire claimed a dramatic one-run victory with the last ball of Vitality Blast final!

The Sky Sports commentators were beside themselves as Hampshire claimed a dramatic one-run victory with the last ball of Vitality Blast final!

Having impressed for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash, Ellis made his maiden T20I appearance for Australia against Bangladesh in August of last year, becoming the first cricketer in history to claim a hat-trick on their T20I debut too!

Prospects for this season: England’s World Cup-winning pair of Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss – replacing Shane Warne as head coach following his desperately sad passing earlier this year – make for a formidable duo, but it’s likely too big a job for them to immediately turn last year’s basement dwellers into title contenders.

As London Spirit prepare for The Hundred, Ravi Bopara and Amara Carr reflect on the impact the tournament has had on cricket so far

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As London Spirit prepare for The Hundred, Ravi Bopara and Amara Carr reflect on the impact the tournament has had on cricket so far

As London Spirit prepare for The Hundred, Ravi Bopara and Amara Carr reflect on the impact the tournament has had on cricket so far

Manchester Originals

Last year’s finish: Sixth in the group stage
First game: vs Northern Superchargers (Friday 5 August, 6.30pm)
Home ground: Emirates Old Trafford
Head coach: Simon Katich

Overseas players: Andre Russell (West Indies), Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka), Sean Abbott (Australia), Ashton Turner (Australia)

Rest of squad: Jos Buttler (captain), Ollie Robinson, Phil Salt, Matt Parkinson, Laurie Evans, Daniel Worrall, Jamie Overton, Tom Hartley, Tom Lammonby, Colin Ackermann, Wayne Madsen, Fred Klaassen, Calvin Harrison, Richard Gleeson

Players to watch: The most sizeable change from this team’s mediocre meanderings in Manchester last year to this will be in the availability of Jos Buttler.

Jos Buttler smashed a magnificent 106 - his record-equalling fourth ton of the tournament - to take Rajasthan Royals to the final of the IPL

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Jos Buttler smashed a magnificent 106 – his record-equalling fourth ton of the tournament – to take Rajasthan Royals to the final of the IPL

Jos Buttler smashed a magnificent 106 – his record-equalling fourth ton of the tournament – to take Rajasthan Royals to the final of the IPL

Buttler may well have had a tough time of it this summer since taking over the England white-ball captaincy full time, but you need only cast your mind back to the spring in India and his, frankly, ridiculous efforts in the IPL – leading run-scorer with 863 runs, a record-equalling four hundreds and an astronomical strike rate of 149.05 – to see just how destructive he can be. The Originals were privy to only two games’ worth of his talents last year due to his involvement in the Test team but will have his services throughout the 2022 campaign.

Throw Phil Salt into the mix – who continues to hammer down England’s white-ball door and should be much-improved from his disappointing 17.42 average of last year – along with the powerful ball-striking of overseas pros Andre Russell and Wanindu Hasaranga, in particular, and it’s a fearsome line-up taking shape in the north-west.

As for the bowling department, leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson was their biggest bright spot from last year – nine wickets at 14.11 and barely conceding over a run a ball – while Richard Gleeson and Jamie Overton add some searing pace into the mix. The latter, as he proved on his Test debut against New Zealand this summer, can also give it a fair whack with the willow.

Prospects for this season: The Originals have plenty of firepower across all disciplines to awaken from their 2021 slumber and mount a genuine top-three challenge. Buttler’s charges are this year’s dark horse.

Which international stars could light up The Hundred in 2022?

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Which international stars could light up The Hundred in 2022?

Which international stars could light up The Hundred in 2022?

Northern Superchargers

Last year’s finish: Fifth in the group stage
First game: vs Manchester Originals (Friday 5 August, 6.30pm)
Home ground: Headingley
Head coach: James Foster

Overseas players: Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Faf du Plessis (South Africa), Wahab Riaz (Pakistan), David Wiese (Namibia)

Rest of squad: David Willey (captain), Adil Rashid, Harry Brook, Adam Hose, Matthew Potts, John Simpson, Roelof van der Merwe, Adam Lyth, Michael Pepper, Callum Parkinson, Ben Raine, Jordan Clark

Players to watch: With Ben Stokes sitting out The Hundred to manage his workload, Superchargers will look to Harry Brook for much of their run-scoring. The Yorkshire batter has been in supreme form for Yorkshire in both red- and white-ball cricket so far this summer and amassed 189 runs in five innings for Superchargers last season at a strike rate over 150.

Harry Brook has forced his way into England contention through sheer weight of runs in 2022

Harry Brook has forced his way into England contention through sheer weight of runs in 2022

Bowling-wise, Superchargers have one of the best spinners in the world in England’s Adil Rashid. The 34-year-old was joint-leading wicket-taker last year with 12 scalps, despite Superchargers being knocked out in the group stage. A particularly memorable game saw him dismiss Trent Rockets batters – and England team-mates – Joe Root and Dawid Malan for ducks.

Rashid’s experience should prove vital, as could that of South Africa’s Faf du Plessis and West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo. Du Plessis will hope to provide substantial runs, while you can count on Bravo – a veteran of nearly 550 T20 matches and 600 wickets – to deliver an array of bowling variations.

Prospects for this season: Superchargers showed last year by slamming 200 against Manchester Originals that they have the batting firepower so a lot could rest on how well Rashid is supported with the ball. David Willey, Wahab Riaz and Bravo could be strong foils but Matt Potts seems set to miss a large chunk of the tournament due to England Test commitments.

England stars, international heroes - The Hundred has them all!

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England stars, international heroes – The Hundred has them all!

England stars, international heroes – The Hundred has them all!

Oval Invincibles

Last year’s finish: Fourth in the group stage
First game: vs Oval Invincibles (Thursday 4 August, 6.30pm)
Home ground: The Kia Oval
Head coach: Tom Moody

Overseas players: Sunil Narine (West Indies), Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Hilton Cartwright (Australia), Mohammad Hasnain (Pakistan)

Rest of squad: Sam Billings (captain), Jason Roy, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Will Jacks, Reece Topley, Danny Briggs, Pat Brown, Matt Milnes, Jack Leaning, Jordan Cox, Nathan Sowter, Jack Haynes, Rory Burns

Reece Topley has impressed for England, including tearing through India's top order in the ODI series decider earlier this summer

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Reece Topley has impressed for England, including tearing through India’s top order in the ODI series decider earlier this summer

Reece Topley has impressed for England, including tearing through India’s top order in the ODI series decider earlier this summer

Players to watch: Invincibles look to have a pretty stacked squad – and one that is unlikely to be overly disrupted by England Test call-ups – as they aim to better last term’s fourth-placed finish.

Jason Roy and Will Jacks seem a formidable opening pair, despite Roy’s recent struggles with England. Rilee Rossouw is also in the batting line-up – he smashed 42 sixes for Somerset in this year’s Vitality Blast and then impressed for South Africa against England in the recent T20 international series. West Indies’ Sunil Narine can give it a wallop, too.

Narine’s principal role, though, will come with the ball. The off-spinner took seven wickets last season and is one of the hardest bowlers to hit, as his T20 economy rate of 6.02 testifies. Backing up Narine will be left-arm spinner Danny Briggs – who has joined from Brave – and England left-arm seamers Reece Topley and Sam Curran. Topley has been in superb form this summer, while Curran is a potential game-changer with bat and ball.

Prospects for this season: With the aforementioned star names, plus Pakistan quick Mohammad Hasnain, tried-and-trusted county campaigners in the likes of Jack Leaning and Matt Milnes, and captain Sam Billings knitting things together, Invincibles appear well placed to push for the title.

The fixtures and key dates for The Hundred 2022 were released earlier this year

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The fixtures and key dates for The Hundred 2022 were released earlier this year

The fixtures and key dates for The Hundred 2022 were released earlier this year

Southern Brave

Last year’s finish: Winners (beat Birmingham Phoenix in the final)
First game: vs Welsh Fire (Wednesday 3 August, 6.30pm)
Home ground: The Ageas Bowl
Head coach: Mahela Jayawardene

Overseas players: Quinton de Kock (South Africa)*, Marcus Stoinis (Australia)**, Tim David (Singapore), Finn Allen (New Zealand)

Rest of squad: James Vince (captain), Jofra Archer, Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan, George Garton, Craig Overton, Alex Davies, Jake Lintott, Rehan Ahmed, Ross Whiteley, Joe Weatherley, Dan Moriarty, Michael Hogan

*James Fuller will step in for Quinton de Kock when the latter is on international duty
**Paul Stirling (Ireland) will step in for Marcus Stoinis when the latter is on international duty

James Vince enjoyed a fantastic 2022 Vitality Blast campaign, finishing top-scorer as he took his Hampshire team to the title

James Vince enjoyed a fantastic 2022 Vitality Blast campaign, finishing top-scorer as he took his Hampshire team to the title

Players to watch: In James Vince, Quinton de Kock and Alex Davies, the Brave boast three of last year’s top eight run-scorers for the tournament. Vince too comes in fresh from finishing as the leading run-getter in this year’s Vitality Blast, with his 678 for the tournament including two tons and three fifties, and scored at a 146.12 strike rate as he steered Hampshire to a Finals Day victory to go with his Hundred title from last year.

Chris Jordan has been mightily impressive for a struggling England outfit in T20 cricket this summer, while Tymal Mills – so impressive in The Hundred last year, claiming eight wickets and conceding little more than a run a ball, to force his way back into the international fold – has struggled for consistency since. But both undoubtedly bring searing pace to a side again sadly shorn of Jofra Archer’s services – ruled out for the season due to a stress fracture of the lower back.

Seventeen-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed was a star of England's run to the final in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year

Seventeen-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed was a star of England’s run to the final in the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year

In the spin department, slow-left armer Jake Lintott returns to the team after a strong return of 11 wickets in his nine outings last year, while look out in particular for 17-year-old leg-spin prospect Rehan Ahmed, part of England’s Under-19 World Cup team that finished runners-up to India earlier this year and of whom there is much excitement surrounding.

Prospects for this season: The Brave, as defending champs, will not only have a target on their back but will have to deal with the sort of disruption that rarely troubled their settled side on their way to the title last year. De Kock and fellow overseas star Marcus Stoinis are likely to be lost to international duty at points, though Singapore’s T20 gun-for-hire Tim David’s form of belligerent hitting will help towards plugging those holes. Won’t have it all their own way this year but should still be in the shake-up come early September.

Southern Brave's Chris Jordan says he is looking forward to the second season of The Hundred and defending the title his side won last year

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Southern Brave’s Chris Jordan says he is looking forward to the second season of The Hundred and defending the title his side won last year

Southern Brave’s Chris Jordan says he is looking forward to the second season of The Hundred and defending the title his side won last year

Trent Rockets

Last year’s finish: Third (lost to Southern Brave in the eliminator)
First game: vs Birmingham Phoenix (Saturday 6 August, 2.30pm)
Home ground: Trent Bridge
Head coach: Andy Flower

Overseas players: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Marchant de Lange (South Africa), Daniel Sams (Australia)

*Tabraiz Shamsi (South Africa) will replace Rashid Khan when the latter is on international duty

Rest of squad: Lewis Gregory (captain), Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Alex Hales, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Ian Cockbain, Luke Wood, Samit Patel, Matt Carter, Steven Mullaney, Sam Cook, Luke Fletcher, Tom Moores, Ben Mike

Players to watch: Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan will miss a portion of the tournament due to international commitments but will probably light up the event when he is here. Like Adil Rashid, he pocketed 12 wickets in the 2021 campaign, helping Rockets into the eliminator. Rockets will sure miss Rashid when he is absent, although South Africa wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi is a far from shabby replacement, and they still have another 12-wicket man from 2021 in burly paceman Marchant de Lange.

Watch the best of the action from the Hundred clash between Trent Rockets and Northern Superchargers as Alex Hales teed off

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Watch the best of the action from the Hundred clash between Trent Rockets and Northern Superchargers as Alex Hales teed off

Watch the best of the action from the Hundred clash between Trent Rockets and Northern Superchargers as Alex Hales teed off

Among a healthy Nottinghamshire contingent is Samit Patel. The veteran continues to churn out runs and wickets in white-ball cricket, with his haul for Rockets last season eight wickets and 179 runs. Patel will probably be Rockets’ finisher with the bat but up top, it should be Alex Hales and Dawid Malan leading the way for the Trent Bridge team, with Joe Root also likely to play a pivotal role before he links up with England’s Test side.

Hales – who still harbours ambitions of playing for England once again – helped Rockets to a staggering comeback win over Superchargers last season, while Malan – set to be England’s No 3 at the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year – amassed three half-centuries in 2021.

Prospects for this season: Decent, you’d say. Wicket-taking bowlers, a raft of all-rounders, top-order runs and an intimate knowledge of Trent Bridge. If Rockets don’t make the top three again, they will be disappointed.

Watch every ball from The Hundred 2022, live on Sky Sports

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Watch every ball from The Hundred 2022, live on Sky Sports

Watch every ball from The Hundred 2022, live on Sky Sports

Welsh Fire

Last year’s finish: Seventh in the group stage
First game: vs Southern Brave (Wednesday 3 August, 6.30pm)
Home ground: Sophia Gardens Cardiff
Head coach: Gary Kirsten

Overseas players: Adam Zampa (Australia), David Miller (South Africa), Naseem Shah (Pakistan), Noor Ahmad (Afghanistan)

Rest of squad: Jonny Bairstow (captain), Ollie Pope, Tom Banton, Ben Duckett, Joe Clarke, Jake Ball, David Payne, Sam Hain, Leus du Plooy, Matt Critchley, Ryan Higgins, Jacob Bethell, Josh Cobb, George Scrimshaw

Somerset big-hitter Tom Banton returns to the Welsh Fire for the 2022 edition of The Hundred

Somerset big-hitter Tom Banton returns to the Welsh Fire for the 2022 edition of The Hundred

Players to watch: Jonny Bairstow is the obvious one after his spellbinding summer so far but his involvement will be limited by England Test duty – the same goes for Ollie Pope – so Fire will need South Africa’s David Miller as well as Tom Banton, Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett and Sam Hain to, well, fire.

The potential is definitely there in the batting department with 18-year-old Jacob Bethell – whose runs helped England to the Under-19 World Cup final in the West Indies in February – a potential breakout star.

Bowling-wise, no one managed to reach double figures for wickets last season – Qais Ahmad topped out with eight. There is no Qais this year for Fire but his fellow Afghanistan spinner, 17-year-old Noor Ahmad, has been signed, as has 19-year-old Pakistan quick Naseem Shah, who is the youngest bowler to take a Test match hat-trick, doing so aged 16 in 2020. Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa also looks a shrewd acquisition.

Prospects for this season: Fire will hope to better last season’s second-bottom finish, during which they slipped to five successive defeats once Bairstow linked up with England. Any improvement could hinge on whether they have the bowling firepower, an aspect of their game that will take a hit when Zampa goes on international duty.

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