There will once again be eight sides contesting this edition of The Hundred and we’re siding with two of them to go all the way.
But which two look like title-winning sides available at attractive odds? Find out our top cricket betting choices for the Hundred’s Winner market below!
Why The Hundred could be even better in 2022
The second season of The Hundred is just around the corner and if the first edition last year was anything to go by, it should be a cracker.
Packed grounds, fervent support, good TV coverage and some of the best white-ball players in the world in action were just some of the reasons why it was such a big success in 2021.
And with Covid-19 less of a potential spoiler than it was last year with a few players opting out because of the pandemic, we should have an even better tournament this year.
The problem is, enjoying the tournament is one thing and predicting its winner is quite another!
What happened in 2021?
The Southern Brave were the inaugural winners of the competition.
They finished as runners-up in the Group Stages, beat the Trent Rockets comfortably in the Eliminator and then posted a total that was too big for the Birmingham Phoenix to chase in the final.
They were a fine all-round team all the way through but their key player was arguably James Vince, who was their top scorer with 229 runs in addition to leading the side well.
Not that their win was any big surprise: they went in as 5.5 favourites.
This is arguably the most difficult white-ball tournament in the world to predict for one very simple reason: we’ve only had one edition.
Why The Hundred is such a tough tournament to predict
Whereas we’ve already had 14 editions of the IPL and 11 of the Big Bash to assess what we make of the different teams, their players, coaches and playing styles, that’s virtually impossible to do after just one season of The Hundred.
A job made even harder by the fact that there have been plenty of changes to the team’s rosters since last season.
So we can’t really use our tried and tested methods of focusing on historic performances, and analysing head-to-head records.
Instead, we pretty much need to focus on quite simply who has the best players and the best balance to their side.
Welsh Fire(power) could blow teams apart
Odds to win: 8.5 with Betway
Fire will have to lick their wounds
The Fire had a poor time of it last season, finishing seventh and winning just three from five.
The clue as to their underperformance was their bowling.
David Payne (who will play for them this year again) was the pick of a bad bunch with just six wickets but they’ve certainly addressed the issue by bringing in three potential overseas match-winners with the ball: Aussie Adam Zampa, Afghan Noor Ahmad and young Pakistani Naseem Shah.
It’s no coincidence they’re all spinners.
The Fire’s home ground of Sophia Gardens is generally a spinner’s wicket and if those three get going, they can keep the runs down.
Payne and the experienced Jake Ball will provide the pace options with all-rounder Josh Cobb also chipping in with a few overs.
So not the absolute best or most varied bowling attack but those spinners could be worth their weight in gold.
English batsmen give them great batting depth
What they were smart about was recognising the need for overseas bowlers rather than batters.
David Miller, a recent IPL winner with Gujarat is the only overseas batsman (other than Leus Du Plooy who is unlikely to play much) and that’s no surprise because they really don’t need anymore.
Jonny Bairstow is the present of English white-bacll cricket while Ollie Pope and Tom Banton are very much the future of it.
Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke have fine records in domestic English cricket while Sam Hain and Cobb can give it a bash down the order.
All in all they have one of the best batting line-ups and that could win them plenty of matches this time round.
Trent Rockets – Beautifully balanced in all regards
Odds to win: 6.5 with Betway
Well-balanced and consistent
If the Fire had a poor season last time out and are likely to be reliant on spin bowling and big hits, then the Rockets are a very different sort of prospect.
For starters, they had a strong showing last season, finishing third in the Group Stages before a bad day at the office in the Eliminator, posting a sub-par score and paying the price against the Southern Brave.
So with quite a few members of last year’s squad staying on, they should at least be consistent again in the Group Stages.
Key to a good campaign is that they have one of the best-balanced sides, with capable and experienced players in just about every role.
Strong Top 3 should give them good starts
Their Top 3 is packed with real specialists of the shortest formats – Alex Hales, Colin Munro and Dawid Malan- and those three will win plenty of games on their own.
As for Joe Root, he’s not normally seen as a particularly fast-scorer, a must in this format, but he may just play more freely with nothing to lose and could be an unlikely star for them.
The likes of Lewis Gregory, Samit Patel and Daniel Sams then offer some good middle-order hitting.
All three will also be important with the ball.
Patel has seen it all before in the county game while Gregory can play good cameos and Sams is currently one of the biggest hitters in the game, so there’s plenty of batting depth if needed.
Sams will probably open the bowling alongside Marchant de Lange, one of last year’s stand-out performers in the competition.
He took 12 wickets in total to finish as the joint top-wicket taker in the tournament. The likes of Luke Wood will be important too with his left-arm seam.
X-Factor Rashid Khan could be the difference
And we’ve saved the best for last.
The Rockets have Rashid Khan back for this campaign after a decent, but not brilliant, first season for him last time.
It’s worth remembering that Khan was the first pick in the original Hundred draft which is the same thing as saying he was the one (available) player in the world the Rockets (who had first pick) most wanted of anyone.
Interestingly, Khan isn’t a prolific winner of T20 franchise tournaments despite going close a few times.
But he did win the IPL this year with the Gujarat Titans, where he was a key player, so maybe that’s what will kickstart a series of tournament wins for him.
And he may have a big role to play with the bat, too.
After years of promise, he finally seems to be able to play more significant innings and we may see him bat as high as five here.
He’s the X-Factor man in a side that already looks very good on paper.
Back the Welsh Fire to win The Hundred @ 8.5 with Betway
Back the Trent Rockets to win the Hundred @ 6.5 with Betway
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