With just over a week left before the excitement of Finals Days The Hundred has made a tremendous & unforgettable impact across the UK. Social media is set ablaze with comments from new Cricket fans who love the format. Children have enjoyed their first ever game of cricket with their parents and even reports that the Ladies’ have been chasing their men to watch the cricket! Over the past week there have been some great games with super exciting finishes, but the pressure is now on! The race to finals day will bring new pressures as teams scramble to become the first to lift the inaugural Hundred Trophy! Let’s hope we have seen the last of the bad weather, keeping our old friends Duckworth & Lewis firmly in the sheds!
Here Come the Girls!!!
The Ladies’ have really put on a show and the enjoyment has been equal to the men’s game in every way most recently the 10 wickets defeat the Welsh Fire handed out to the Phoenix. But the pressure will be going up a notch and not all the ladies will have been exposed to this in the same way the men have been so it will be interesting to see how the table plays out.
The Southern Brave have run away with the competition with their only loss being an upset against Cross’ Manchester Originals who sadly have not enjoyed the same success as Shrubsole. The battle for 3rd however will be fierce with only net run rate separating the Invincibles and the Rockets, Fridays Match up between the Rockets and Phoenix will be one to watch! A win for the Phoenix puts them in touching distance of 3rd, but they will need to beat the Superchargers to have a chance. Much depends on the Rockets losing to basement side Originals and it looks unlikely the Invincibles will lose two in a row, facing local rivals Spirit in 6th being a must win for them especially with tournament leaders as their final match.
Batting Stats: Rodrigues seems to be playing a different game to everyone else still topping total runs scored in the tournament. She is not without competition on her back with Nat Sciver on 30 odd behind in 2nd and Van Niekirk & Matthews keeping each other company in 3rd and 4th respectively, being within 40 of top. Rodrigues is class though!
The bowling is just as tight in the top! Sammy Jo-Johnson leads by just one wicket & 2 games left to keep 2nd place Tash Farrant with 2 games to take the crown. Amanda-Jade Wellington in 3rd, with a great tournament so far with 8 scalps and 2nd best bowling figures behind Anya Shrubsole, seems an unlikely champion but all it needs I another tournament best against the Invincibles on Monday and she will be right up there!
Boys will be boys!
It is so tight at the top you can cut the tension with a knife! The Phoenix have been handed 1st with the Rockets slipping up twice being let down by their batting and bowling respectively. It is sad to say that The London Spirit are still yet to win a game despite having Warne and Morgan as a leadership team.
De Lange lead the charge but in the leaving the tournament he has left top place open for England’s Adil Rashid who will welcome the plaudits having not been picked for the recent the IPL tournament. Fellow spin demon Rashid Khan is hot on his heels behind by only 1 wicket putting on the pressure, but both have 2 games to hold the crown going into finals day. Imran Tahir is only 3 wickets behind top, whilst sitting pretty in second for best figures. We could be looking at an all-spin top 3 for the tournament.
With Bairstow taking his spot amongst the England test team there is all change again in the batting. Ben Duckett blasting his way into top place leading the young Harry Brook by a narrow 30 runs. Consider Brook has a game in hand against the Originals on Thursday & Moeen will not be far off, also only 30 behind. The crown for top run scorer leading into finals day will be fiercely contested. For Duckett sadly will only have 2 games left to leave his mark on the top run scorer as the Fire will not have done enough as a team to get there. Will Hales turn on the afterburners and clinch the title from Moeen?
As it stands
In the Men’s tournament the Phoenix lead by a coat of varnish over the Rockets, 4 wins a piece and Net Run Rate being the difference. The battle for top 3 will be exceptionally interesting with 5 teams in the running if result go their way. At the other end let’s get behind The Spirit to get them over line for their first win.
For the ladies it will take a miracle for the Southern Brave to not get to the finals. It will be between Invincibles, Rockets and SuperChargers. All to play for in the last few games.
Thought for the week
Coming into week 3 of The Hundred and there is still such an avid hunger for more which is great to see. WE have seen a large amount of English talent facing high pressure situations & environments usually only found in the big T20 tournaments. But what has the effect been on the overall game and development of English cricket? The other domestic competitions and counties have been of poor quality and many ex-England players saying that there is too much one day Cricket, and it is affecting the development of Test match Cricketers. The players are clearly loving the excitement but with complaints that there is too much Cricket how can we now fit in yet another competition without losing the world cup contested formats and the newly established Test championship. Much can be said for the traditional county setups and how they have supported English Cricket for such a long period of time, but with 18 first class counties do the best players play against each other often enough to really develop world class players in all arenas? Finally I have often wondered what the late and great Richie Benaud would say if he could grace the microphone once more and call the Hundred Final?“Don’t bother looking for that, let alone chasing it” ” (Richie Benaud commentating on Botham’s innings at Headingly in 1981)