Thursday, September 23, 2021

PCA: Batters lead from front in Hundred MVP

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Bairstow and Rodrigues set early pace in race for £5k prizes.

The PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings in the inaugural season of The Hundred are starting to take shape. After two games batters have the edge, as Jonny Bairstow and Jemimah Rodrigues sit atop the MVP table after two impressive innings apiece.

During Tuesday night’s action, Bairstow illustrated why the England ODI opener is one of the most destructive white-ball players in the world in emphatic fashion. Sitting atop the men’s rankings, the World Cup winner has confidently found form early on in the new 100-ball format. His plunderous score of 72 off only 39 deliveries was a scintillating example of a player who is often at his best in the short form of the game.

With almost nonchalant swipes of the ball from his bat to the boundary, Bairstow seemed to be drawing a masterful painting with his game-winning score. His MVP total of 38.72 however does not leave him far above the chasing pack, notably Marchant de Lange and Qais Ahmad, who hold up the case for the bowlers.

This is, of course, still very much early days in the competition, only two games have been played by each team while Manchester Originals and Northern Superchargers have technically played three after the washouts on Wednesday.

The rankings reflect a player’s ability to have match-defining performances. For batters this means big hits, huge runs at a rapid strike-rate and bowlers to take key wickets and keep runs to a minimum. The winner of the men’s and women’s MVP in The Hundred each wins a £5,000 prize.

Of the top 10, there are five bowlers, three all-rounders and two batters to show the MVP is wide open. While Bairstow is 6.17 MVP points ahead of de Lange and the chasing pack, they present an increasingly persuasive case that the men’s MVP competition will go down to the wire and the Lord’s final on Saturday 21 August.

Rodrigues sets the pace in women’s Hundred MVP

In the Women’s Hundred, Rodrigues has a healthy lead in first place with an impressive score of 72.65. It is, of course, early days but her opening innings of 92 set the tone for the rest and her following up score of 60 suggested that it is a tone she can maintain. Aged only 20 years old, Rodrigues holds a very exciting future, one that many in India will be desperate to see her reach her potential. So far it seems incredibly likely that the future holds more runs and more plaudits.

The women’s MVP Rankings is not one without competition. Nat Sciver and Harmanpreet Kaur chase her in second and third, although they are a distance behind with scores of 47.00 and 42.69. Their high positions only go to further demonstrate that the start of the competition has been dominated by aggressive batting rather than skilful bowling. Only time will tell whether this remains the case.

Due to the approaching England Test series against India, many of the leading men’s players are leaving a space in their respective squads. This will create further opportunities for young English talent to shine and one of the best elements to The Hundred is the platform it gives to emerging and upcoming players. Here they can play amongst the best and on a stage watched by millions.

The performance of 16-year-old Alice Capsey, MVP for the Invincibles after a superb 59 off 41 is a perfect example of this. Calvin Harrison and Harry Brook, both in the top 10 of the MVP Rankings, are also fine examples of what an opportunity The Hundred is. Now that the Test players are unable to play, it only leaves more space for youngsters to develop their careers. It would be quite something if one of them was to win the race for MVP.

This is only the start of what is already a decidedly exciting tournament. A positive to Joe Root’s recent golden duck was only that Adil Rashid was bowling, with the world’s best matching up against each before the T20 World Cup. For the fans it is simpler. The start to The Hundred has been fast-paced and at times spectacular thanks to players lighting up stadiums around the country, may it continue.

View the men’s and women’s Hundred MVP Rankings.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following @pcaMVP on Twitter.

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