The Hundred is here to stay!

Rex Clementine at Lord’s

The second edition of The Hundred was a resounding success with Oval Invincibles defending the women’s title while Trent  Rockets pulled off a stunning win in the men’s final at Lord’s on Saturday.

When the ECB mooted cricket’s fourth version, it was meant to attract new audiences; kids, women and ethnically wider fans. If you were at Lord’s for the final in front of a full house, you could have realized that these purposes had been achieved.

A women’s competition going alongside the men’s event with participation of overseas players and lasting for just two and half hours had helped in serving the purposes.

When England and Wales Cricket board introduced T-20 cricket in 2003, it added a third dimension to the sport alongside five day Test match cricket and 50 overs cricket. Soon, it became hugely popular but events like the IPL and Big Bash League overtook England’s domestic competition. The Hundred was an answer to that and it has been well received.

The eight team seven city tournaments saw last year’s finalists – Oval Invisibles and Southern Brave meeting up in a repeat final in the women’s event.

Braves managed just eight boundaries in their innings and a target of 102 proved to be too little even though the pitch was sluggish.

The experienced 32-year-old South African Marizanne Kapp was the heroine for Oval Invincibles as she smashed 37 off 33 balls with five fours to see her side over the line.  The unbroken 27 run stand between her and Emily Windsor proved to be curial at the end with Windsor bringing up the winning runs with a boundary with five wickets in hand and six balls to spare.

The two teams that topped the tables at the league stage met in the men’s final with depleted sides. Manchester Originals had lost Jos Buttler due to injury while Trent Rockets lost Rashid Khan due to international duty.

It turned out to be a nail-biting finish with Trent Rockets winning with two balls to spare.

The run chase wasn’t going right for the Rockets until the last over. Needing 11 off the last five, Manchester Originals called up Richard Gleeson to do the job. Lewis Gregory pulled the first ball for six making it five off four. The next ball was flicked past short fine leg for four to level the scores. Gregory brought up the win with a superb cover drive for four.

It was very fine effort by the Trent Rockets to keep the opposition to a below par score of 120. Sam Cook did the early damage as he finished with four wickets with three of those wickets coming from yorkers. Samit Patel finished with three wickets.