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  1. Cricket

The Hundred - Cricket: Final preview

It may only be into its second season but The Hundred has once again proven to be a success and Saturday marks the conclusion of this year's men's and women's tournaments.

In The Hundred Women final, defending champions Oval Invincibles take on a red-hot Southern Brave side before the men's final pits two of the tournament's best batting contingents against one another as Trent Rockets clash with Manchester Originals.

Malan and Hales can guide Rockets to glory

WhatTrent Rockets vs. Manchester Originals, The Hundred final
WhereLord's, London
When18:30, Saturday 3rd September 2022
How to watchBBC Two, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Mix
OddsTrent Rockets 8/11, Manchester Originals 11/10

After Manchester Originals began the 2022 edition of The Hundred with three straight defeats, few would have envisaged that they would go on to be tournament finalists.

The Originals responded to that poor start with five straight wins to qualify for the eliminator, in which they defeated London Spirit by five wickets with 11 balls remaining.

Form is most definitely on their side but the irrepressible consistency of Trent Rockets is hard to ignore.

The Rockets progressed directly to the final of The Hundred after finishing two points ahead of the Originals and Spirit with six wins from their eight matches.

Southern Brave and Birmingham Phoenix were the only teams to get the better of the Rockets, who can draw confidence from the fact they thumped Manchester Originals by eight wickets in their regular-season meeting.

Dawid Malan blasted an unbeaten 98 in that match and he, along with opening partner Alex Hales, will hold the key to victory for the Rockets in this match.

Between them Malan and Hales have struck a combined 609 runs in The Hundred this year with Malan (358) the tournament's leading scorer and Hales (251) ranked fifth in the batting standings.

Of course, the Originals have their own top-order firepower in Phil Salt (342) but his opening partner Laurie Evans (168) has not been as prolific as Hales and is arguably more likely to fall early.

It is a cardinal sin in betting to avoid the obvious and Trent Rockets have been the standout side in The Hundred this year, so are worth a bet at 8/11 to win this match.

Malan, meanwhile, cannot be dismissed in the batting markets. The 35-year-old is often a man for the big occasions and is worth backing at 5/6 to score over 26.5 runs at Lord's to help his side secure their first Hundred trophy.

Brave could crumble at Lord's

WhatOval Invincibles Women vs. Southern Brave Women, The Hundred Women final
WhereLord's, London
When15:00, Saturday 3rd September 2022
How to watchBBC Two, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Mix
OddsOval Invincibles Women 11/8, Southern Brave Women 4/7

In the inaugural season of The Hundred Women, the Oval Invincibles took the title after finishing second in the standings before taking their game to the next level in the eliminator and the final.

This time around, the reigning champions progressed straight to the final after winning five of their six matches in the regular season.

But their opponents in the final - Southern Brave Women - also finished with a 5-1 record with the Invincibles taking top spot as a result of a superior net run rate.

That emphasises that there are fine margins between these two sides and Brave look too short at 4/7 to win at Lord's.

The Invincibles come into the final unbeaten in four matches and have two powerhouse batters at the top of their order in Lauren Winfield-Hill and captain Suzie Bates, who have scored a combined 443 runs in the franchise competition this year.

What could tilt the match in their favour is the fact Southern Brave Women could be without their star batter Smriti Mandhana (194 runs), who is a doubt after missing part of the eliminator.

While Brave have depth, Mandhana's absence cannot be ignored and that makes the Invincibles a decent bet to win this final at 11/8.

Brave have also had issues handling spinners at times throughout the tournament and that could be good news for the Invincibles and young spin bowler Alice Capsey, who has enjoyed a great Hundred with six wickets to her name.

The youngster could be a great bet to be her side's top bowler at 5/1 in only the second ever Women's Hundred final.

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