The Hundred, first proposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board in September 2016, was originally envisioned as a Twenty20 tournament but the opportunity to attract new fans prompted the ECB to propose a shortened format.
The format of the game is that there are 100 balls per innings, bowlers have to deliver either five or ten consecutive balls with a maximum of 20 balls per game. There is a powerplay of 25 balls with only 2 fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
The tournament was originally slated to start in the summer of 2020 but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it got postponed to 2021. The tournament is set to make history as it launches men’s and women’s competitions alongside each other with its opening fixture being a women’s match. For the first time in the history of women’s cricket, a domestic women’s tournament will be shown entirely on TV with all the games being broadcast live on Sky.
🚨 HUGE news just in! 🚨
The women’s competition launches The Hundred with Oval Invincibles hosting Manchester Originals for our *first ever* match! 🙌
— The Hundred (@thehundred) February 23, 2021
The competition will start with Oval Invincibles hosting Manchester Originals at the Kia Oval on the 21st of July before the same two men’s sides lock horns the following day. The Eliminator will take place a day before the finals at the Kia Oval and then the action will shift to the iconic and historic Lord’s stadium which will host the finals of both men’s and women’s competition on the 21st of August.
Beth Barrett-Wild, Head of The Hundred Women’s Competition said, “Opening The Hundred with a standalone women’s match represents a historic moment, not just for cricket and women’s cricket, but more widely for sport. Launching the competition for men and women at the same time is really significant. What normally happens is that competition gets launched for the men and then four or five years later, once it is established, a women’s element is bolted into it. Whereas what we have done with The Hundred, it is a competition by design for both genders.”
The ECB has a goal- that of wanting to promote the women’s game and this decision is a way of reaching that goal. “It really demonstrates our commitment and intent around where we want the women’s game to go. We want the women’s game to be played in the biggest stadia on the biggest stage with the biggest platform and being played in front of as many people as possible,” said Barrett-Wild. “In terms of how we harness what comes off the back of that, it is all about audience growth. It gives us an opportunity to really turbocharge the profile and visibility of women’s cricket. That’s really important.”
Earlier, the women’s games were supposed to be held at different locations but this plan had to be scrapped owing to the pandemic. This is said to benefit women’s cricket as they will get to play on the best pitches in the country. England seamer Kate Cross echoes this sentiment, “It’s the biggest thing for women’s cricket. if you put us on slow pitches, then you are going to get slow games and it’s not what people want to see. If you put us on faster, better wickets, you’re going to see more runs and more wickets.”
“It’s not just the pitches, it’s the ground. The quality of the ground and us being able to get the quality of our fielding right. Also, that atmosphere with the crowds. It’s the top of my list when it comes to how do you make women’s cricket better, put us on better pitches and instantly you will see a better product.”
Source – Cricbuzz