The Hundred is a brand new cricket tournament hoping to revolutionise the game in its inaugural season this summer.
It is the brainchild of the English Cricket Board and will feature eight city-based teams competing in a brand new format, with each team batting for 100 balls, with whoever scores the most runs winning.
The Hundred Format
The hundred balls will be divided into either five or 10-ball segments, as opposed to the ‘over’, the six-ball division of an innings that has existed since the invention of cricket. This is the first major difference between this new tournament and a traditional Twenty20 match, which is composed of 20 overs.
Bowlers and their captains will decide whether they bowl five or 10 balls at once, but the fielding team must switch ends every 10 balls. There will also be a 25-ball power-play in each innings. Each bowler may only bowl 20 balls per innings.
Social Media Backlash
This radical revamping of the structure of a cricket match was not universally hailed, with former MCC chairman Keith Bradshaw labelling it “innovation for innovation’s sake.” Many cricket fans have also voiced their displeasure, with the hashtag “#OpposeThe100” trending on Twitter after the tournament was announced. Despite this, organisers hope it will lead to a more high-octane product that will appeal to a younger, broader audience.
The format of the competition will be that each of the eight teams will play each other once, with four home games and four away. The three top-ranked teams after this will go into the playoffs, with the second and third ranked teams playing a semi-final to earn the right to play the top-ranked team in the final.
Who Are the Teams?
The eight teams are as follows: Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Northern Superchargers, Oval Invincibles, Southern Brave, Trent Rockets and Welsh Fire.
The players have been drafted to their team, with three overseas players allowed on each team. Almost all of the matches will be played as doubleheaders, with the women’s game in the afternoon and the men’s game in the evening. This is part of a wider strategy to integrate the male and female versions of the tournament, with equal prize money on offer for both.
Who Will be Lifting the Trophy?
With a tournament filled with so many unknowns, it is understandable that the betting for the men’s game is so open, with favourites Southern Brave in at
9/2 and outsiders Northern Superchargers
15/2. However, taking into account that the Test series against India will coincide with the latter stages of the competition, it may be worth opposing sides with a strong representation in England’s Test team.
As a result of that, at the prices, Welsh Fire are interesting at
Ollie Pope is their sole representative likely to get called up to the Test side and, in Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton, they have a formidable early-order duo. Liam Plunkett will be their star bowler and Kieron Pollard is a strong all-rounder who will contribute with both bat and ball.
*All odds correct at time of writing