Northern Superchargers (M)
Best XI: Adam Lyth, Chris Lynn, Harry Brook, Faf Du Plessis(c), Stokes, John Simpson(wk), Willey, Jordan Thompson, Brydon Carse, Adil Rashid, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Coach: Darren Lehmann
Batting depth: Like many teams in the competition, the Northern Superchargers bat deep. They have recognized boundary hitters till #9 in Brydon Carse and a very capable batsman in Adil Rashid at number #10.
Batting vs pace: The presence of Chris Lynn and Ben Stokes in their lineup makes the Superchargers one of the quickest scoring batting units vs any kind of pace including top quality express pace.
Spin bowling: With Rashid - who is simply the best leg-spin option in the country and Mujeeb Ur Rahman with his variations and ability to bowl even with the new ball, their spin bowling unit is surely one to watch out for.
Batting vs spin: Lynn, the Superchargers marquee opener, averages just 14 and strikes at 109 versus leg-spin and Ben Stokes being pushed down the order will leave a major vulnerability in the side as he’s been troubled by leg-spin when he’s not batting inside the top-3 averaging just 14.5 and striking at 126.09. Although Adam Lyth has pretty healthy numbers versus leg-spin in T20 cricket, it remains to be seen how the duo of Lyth-Lynn manages the leg-spin threat which is almost International quality.
Batting intent: Stokes batting outside top-3 means he won’t get to exploit powerplay advantage. That is a line-up of Harry Brooks, Faf du Plessis, who could take time to settle down, could be really detrimental to their side as they might end up not maximizing their batting.
Death bowling: The Northern Superchargers do not have any experienced and economical death bowlers and have amongst the weakest death bowling options in Carse (who even though is an exciting prospect with his pace is still raw) and Willey. It’s another major area of concern where they could end up losing a lot of games.
Welsh Fire (M)
Best XI: Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Cockbain, Glenn Phillips(wk), Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, James Neesham, Liam Plunkett, Qais Ahmad, Jake Ball, David Payne
Coach: Gary Kirsten
Explosive Openers: In Tom Banton and Jonny Bairstow, Welsh Fire have two of the most explosive English batsmen who’ll provide them with quick starts. In addition to it, their range vs spin makes them even more dangerous later and can provide their side continuous acceleration across all phases once set.
Middle Order batting: Glenn Phillips, the 24-year old Kiwi, is one of the rising stars in T20 cricket after making a place for himself in his national side. He has even dominated the T20 Blast’s latest edition scoring 500 runs at an average of 50 and a strike rate of 160+. Along with him the Welsh line-up includes Ian Cockbain who’s very dynamic and can stabilize the innings at a good scoring rate if required. Their playing XI also includes Jimmy Neesham who could be slotted in as a finisher with him playing the same role for his national side averaging 33 and scoring at a brilliant strike rate of 178 since 2018.
New ball bowling: David Payne might be the only bowler in the Welsh Fire squad with the ability to bowl with the new ball but he has a brilliant record in the powerplay since 2018, conceding runs at an economy rate of 7.4 and picking up wickets at an average of 20. The left armer can bring the ball back into the right-handers and is good enough at the death with a healthy economy rate of 8.62.
Middle Overs and death bowling: Their bowling does not show much promise. Liam Plunkett will be tasked with bowling the middle and death overs alongside Jake Ball, who has been on the expensive side in recent years and lacks the express pace required and can be one dimensional. Qais Ahmed will be a key figure in the spin department who will not have great support at the other end. To conclude bowling as a whole will remain a huge area for the Welsh Fire side.
Availability issues: Jonny Bairstow has been be called up for the Test series versus India hence Welsh Fire will lose a key player from the squad whose replacement would not be able to play the same role. The squad depth will also be tested after Neesham completes all of his three games and Welsh Fire could be restricted to local options in the squad who cannot play the same role as him effectively enough, thus resulting in a significant drop in the side’s quality.