This summer The Hundred returns in England and Wales for its second season. The city based franchise competition, was first intended to be staged in the summer of 2020, but had to be postponed because of the global pandemic.
When it did launch it faced strong opposition from traditional cricket fans, but the public response was overwhelmingly positive, and more than 500,000 tickets were sold.
It is hoped that this time round, the easing of travel restrictions mean that more overseas players will be able to participate, and salaries for male players have been increased 25% on last year. Female players’ salaries have doubled.
Inspired by the Indian T20 league
The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) inspired by the sporting and commercial success of the Indian T20 league first proposed a new city-based Twenty20 competition in 2016.
However, it was decided to switch format to an entirely new format of cricket, with the express intention of trying to attract a younger and more diverse audience to watch the sport.
It also looked to give equal prominence to both men’s and women’s sides.
How it differs from the Indian T20 league
The Indian T20 league, like most similar franchise tournaments, consists of two innings of twenty overs a side. Bowlers can bowl a maximum four overs each, whilst the first six overs of an innings are a mandatory powerplay, with only two fielders allowed outside the 30 yard circle.
By contrast the Hundred features 100 balls per innings, and it has a number of other distinctions from a typical Twenty20 tournament.
- A bowler can deliver either five or ten consecutive balls, and there is a change of ends when 10 balls have been delivered.
- Each team starts their innings with a 25-ball powerplay
- In the case of a caught dismissal the non-striker must return to their original end.
- No balls are worth two runs and a free hit;
- Slow over rates are penalised by the fielding side permitted to have one less player outside the circle during the final over.
- And, significantly, there is a women’s competition running parallel (the Australian Big Bash League has its female equivalent, but it is not staged at the same time).
One other difference from the Indian T20 League, is that the team that tops the league phase of the competition goes straight to the final, with the second and third teams contesting an eliminator to decide who will join them.
The Indian T20 league features two more games in the play-off stages.
In a deliberate break from tradition, it was designed to follow the example of the Indian T20 League and have the teams based in cities, rather than the usual English county system.
London, due to its size and population has two teams.
The eight teams are:
- Birmingham Phoenix
- London Spirit
- Manchester Originals
- Northern Superchargers
- Oval Invincibles
- Southern Brave
- Trent Rockets
- Welsh Fire
The Hundred 2021
The inaugural winners of the men’s competition were Southern Brave who beat Birmingham Phoenix by 32 runs at Lord’s. Earlier in the day, though Southern Brave’s female team were on the losing side, beaten by the Oval Invincibles by 48 runs.
The Men’s Competition will begin on 3rd August, and the women’s eight days’ later. However, the scheduling will gradually coincide, with many matches featuring both teams from a franchise (male and female) staged on the same day in double headers.
Each men’s team will play four matches at home and four away. This means they will play the other side’s once in the group phase, plus a bonus match against their nearest regional rivals (as a money spinner).
Exceptionally this year, the women’s tournament has been shortened due to the inclusion of female cricket in the Commonwealth Games, which are being held this year in Birmingham, between 28th July, and 8th August.
Finals day is September 3rd at Lord’s.
Who is playing in The Hundred?
All England’s centrally contracted players have been retained by their franchises from last year – James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach are the only three test regulars without a franchise.
In terms of overseas players, there are a number of names familiar to Indian audiences who will be appearing this year.
Daniel Sams, the Australian all-rounder, who played for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian T20 league a few months ago, has signed up for the Trent Rockets, whilst his compatriot Ashton Turner, who appeared for the Rajasthan Royals in 2019, will be joining the Manchester Originals, where he will be joining, among others, Jos Buttler, voted MVP in the Indian T20 league this year.
On the women’s side, Indian all-rounder Deepti Sharma has been signed by Birmingham Phoenix, whilst four players from the all-conquering Australian team – Heather Graham, Molly Strano, Ellyse Villani and Nicola Carey have been picked up by the various franchises.
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