Barely a week into its infancy and already we have seen action, excitement and a massive increase in the following of our beautiful game. TheHundred has polarised opinion across generations which has sparked discussion and interest, but most importantly facilitating connections between people both new and old after such a testing time for all. 4 days since launch and already we have seen 7 highly immersing match ups for both the Women’s and Men’s tournaments.
Here Come the Girls!!!
I will be honest, outside of the Worldcup campaigns not much time had been made to watch ladies’ cricket. The Hundred has definitely changed that! The general skill level and professionalism in the women’s game is superb and there has not been a boring game amongst them. Technically, Tactically and physically the women are every bit as attuned to the professionalism of the game that the men are, and it is great to see.
Van Niekirk scores the first fifty in style and, Jemimah Rodrigues 8 runs off the first ever hundred in The Hundred at a strike rate of 213.95 and has already double the amount of runs than second place Van Niekerk. Young Alex Capsey at the tender age of 16 scoring a match winning 59 from 41 to put a win out of sight regardless of a defiant 40 from Heather Knight.
What to say about the bowling!? Again, the skill level has been outstanding, variations and guile from Ecclestone , Maqsood & Levick; who may be England’s all time wicket record holder but 1 behind the pace to top the tournament stats. The pace & skill of the seamers is also something to enjoy. Young Issy Wong competing for fastest delivery in the tournament, Shrubsole, Cross and Davidson-Richards showing their international experience vying for top spot which is co -held narrowly by Tash Farrant & Sammy Jo Johnson. Regardless of the results what is really heart-warming is the number of future young lady cricketers who can engage with the game and their heroes in a way previously more available to the men.
Boys will be boys!
There have been some absolute humdingers to sink your teeth into. I defy even the staunchest lover of Test cricket not to be enthralled by some of the excitement. There are also some serious tactical decisions to be made around the bowling 10 in a row or just 5? Managing which end to bowl the last over from to protect the shortest boundary and getting through your fielding innings quick enough to prevent a penalty. Batters are used to the security of 6 ball overs and a small period of recovery to gather your thoughts and game plane when a bowler is on top, now a bowler with their tale up can have ten straight at you! I think that we have a format which as finally evened up the battle between bat and ball – For now!
Leading the charge for the bowling is De Lange with 8 wickets already in the tournament and best of 5/20 blowing away the Brave helping the Rockets “march” on to a 9-wicket victory. Parkinson are the next highest with 5 wickets picking up best of 4/9 against the Phoenix. It is nice to see that there is some great young English talent on display in the seam department from the likes of Tom Helm, Blake Cullen & Luke Wood.
Batting wise we have seen some great innings from the seasoned Pro’s Crawley, Malan, Bairstow, Livingstone, Billings and Hales who expertly executed a victory from jaws of defeat. Yet top spot is held by 22-year-old England hopeful Harry Brook sitting on 100 runs in the tournament however, devoid of that winning feeling with the Superchargers.
As it stands
In the Men’s tournament the Rockets are head and shoulders above the pack winning 2 from 2 followed closely by Invincibles 2nd & Originals 3rd. Brave and Super Chargers have much to do to get their first win playing @ 18:30 today and tomorrow respectively
In the Ladies it is the opposite with Superchargers 2 from 2 at the top, Invincibles also 2 from 2 hold a tenative 2nd with NRR being the decider. The Brave in 3rd but likely candidates to take second as favourites against 7th place Fire today @ 15:00.
Thought for the week
So having not been sure of the Hundred to very quickly warming up it, the future certainly looks bright. What is most encouraging is the amount of young home-grown talent on display across the tournaments. However, for The Hundred to challenge the likes of the IPL and Big Bash, wrestling back the spotlight of the game and not just being its home, will big names of T20 such as Gayle, Warner, Dhoni or Southee, Zampa and Shamsi be brought in. Will The Hundred become a breeding ground of young English talent hardened to pressure situations and developed in a very positive brand of the game which can be moulded into future test cricketers? Will The Hundred be the catalyst that rekindles the public’s interest in Cricket for all formats as seen in the 70’s 80’s?
Old Father Time will tell!