The northern counties are represented in The Hundred by the Northern Superchargers, who cover both Yorkshire and Durham. Based at Headingley, the Superchargers’ men squad is largely built up of players from the two counties.
The women’s squad is very similar in its make-up of local talent and familiar relationships. Even the two coaches have previous ties to the northeast: Danielle Hazell is a Durham native and Darren Lehmann enjoyed a successful time at Yorkshire as an overseas player.
This strong connection to the area could be a big advantage in this competition. Team bond and unity is crucial for any cricket team to go far in any tournament, especially a new tournament with new teams. The squads who settle together quickest will have more success, and this is what the Superchargers are hoping to achieve.
That’s not to say both squads don’t possess real quality. Lauren Winfield-Hill is the stand-out, backed up by a solid support cast. Adil Rashid has the experience of white ball cricket to be the main bowler, however, it’s the overall batting of the men’s team that excites. Yorkshire stars Adam Lyth, David WIlley and Tom Kohler-Cadmore will enjoy this format where big hitting is encouraged.
If the local Leeds crowd gets behind the local stars, the Superchargers can win a lot of games and advance through the first round. Some squads may have more superstar individuals, but it’s the strength of the team togetherness for both sides that will be their x factor.
Faf du Plessis, Chris Lynn and Mujeeb ur Rahman are the men’s overseas players; du Plessis will also captain the side. Lots of t20 experience from the three stars, which will compliment the raw and young local talent in the squad. If they can gel together it could be a dangerous combination of youth and experience.
Ben Stokes may not be available due to the test matches, but if he is it will certainly be a massive bonus – a player who comes up big on the biggest stage.
Laura Wolvaardt, Laura Kimmince and Jemimah Rodrigues are the women’s overseas players. Wolvaardt and Rodrigues are still very young, but have the cricketing world at their feet and will show no fear in proving to the rest of the competition what they can do. Kimmince is the experience that will hold everything together, alongside Winfield-Hill. They will form a tight leadership duo, which should allow the rest to express themselves.
The Northern Superchargers have built two squads with winning in mind. The men’s team have a chance of success if they stick together and form an ‘us versus them’ mentality. Darren Lehmann is really clever at doing this, and du Plessis will help the team buy into it. This mentality can see them beat any team on their day. Some squads may be better; the Superchargers are banking on no squad being tighter.
The women’s team have used a similar tactic to plot themselves to victory, and it has an equal chance of working. It’s all about beating each team on that given day rather than topping the individual stats charts. We’ve seen many t20 tournaments won by teams who are tight and peak at the right moment. That’s the blueprint for the Northern Superchargers.
Odds: Men 7/1
First Fixture: vs Welsh Fire – Saturday 24th July