The Hundred may still be in its infancy this season but Sunday's match-up between the Oval Invincibles and the Southern Brave feels like it could have a huge bearing on the final shake-up.
Defending champions, Brave, will not want to give up their title without a fight but they appear to be under a semblance of pressure at this stage, while the Invincibles are threatening top spot.
|What||Oval Invincibles v Southern Brave, The Hundred|
|When||18.00, Sunday 14th August 2022|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Cricket/Main Event and Sky Showcase|
|Odds||Invincibles 10/11, Brave 10/11|
The Southern Brave started this year's tournament from where they left off in 2021 with a nine-wicket hammering of the Welsh Fire on opening night to seemingly lay down a marker for the action ahead.
James Vince, who of course led the Hampshire Hawks to the T20 Blast title earlier this summer, crashed a fine unbeaten 71 as Brave won a one-sided clash with 31 balls to spare.
However, the Brave have been unable to build on that performance, suffering a 53-run drubbing at the hands of Birmingham Phoenix before losing out to last season's wooden spoonists, the London Spirit, who have turned the formbook on its head by winning three out of three this year.
Conversely, the Oval Invincibles, who narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season, suffered a narrow three-run loss to the Spirit in their opening derby clash before bouncing back with successive wins over the Welsh Fire (39 runs) and Northern Superchargers (three wickets) to climb up to second in the standings after three games.
The momentum is clearly with the Invincibles, who have home advantage to boot, although the quality and depth of the Brave squad, on paper at least, means there is little to choose between the two sides on the betting front.
Vince looked in fine nick in that opening win for Southern but he has scored just 17 runs in his subsequent two innings and his side have struggled to fill his shoes when he has fallen cheaply.
Alex Davies has at least been consistent, topping the Brave's run-scoring stats after three games with 95 while Ross Whitely scored 52 in the losing cause against London, but the likes of Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis and Tim David have done precious little with the bat so far and need to join the party.
It is a similar story for the Invincibles with England opener Jason Roy bang out of form, while Rilee Rossouw, Sam Billings and Sunil Narine also struggling so far.
Still, the Curran brothers have chipped in when called upon while Will Jacks smashed 81 in the win over the Fire but this one might be decided by which team's big guns show up, given the quality bowling attacks both sides possess.
Oval Invincibles v Southern Brave women, The Hundred
14.30, Sunday 14th August 2022
How to watch
Sky Sports Mix and Sky Showcase
|Odds||Invincibles 11/10, Brave 8/11|
The Invincibles and Brave contested last year's final in the women's The Hundred with the former, who finished five points behind in second, banishing a 30-run loss in the group stages to win the final by 48 runs with Marizanne Kapp taking a decisive 4-9, having also top-scored with 26.
Both sides have started with intent this year, with the Invincibles crushing the Northern Superchargers by nine wickets thanks to Lauren Winfield-Hill's superb unbeaten 74, while the Brave eased to a six-wicket win over the London Spirit, with Danni Wyatt striking a 34-ball 65.
The Brave lost only one of their group games last season, suffering a 17-run defeat (DLS) on the road at Old Trafford, although the Invincibles had a mixed bag of results at the Oval, winning two and losing one with one no-result.
However, they recorded a convincing opening win on home turf in this tournament, while the Brave are on the road for the first time in 2022.
These two finished in the top two positions last season and this match could well have a significant bearing on which team ends the group stages on top of the standings, earning that path straight through to the Lord's finale.