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The Oval Invincibles and the Manchester Originals played a nail-biter that proved to be the perfect curtain-raiser for The Hundred, but the real cricket discourse can wait. Let’s talk about The Hundred, its intricacies and what really happened on the first day of the match.
What were some of the cool things that happened?
As all 22 players take to the field, The Hundred officially kicked off in SPECTACULAR fashion. The Oval was surrounded by fireworks, and boy, were they of absolute beauty. The dazzling fireworks were so good that the Manchester Originals opener left Emma Lamb in awe. Words don’t do the moment justice, so here’s a photo that captures the moment.
The batters had their own entrances
Cameramen who follow the batters all the way from the locker room to the middle of the wicket have their own touch, but in The Hundred there’s something even better; much cooler. Batters have their own entrance, with their name and number displayed digitally as they walk out of the den. It makes them look special and adds a bit of aura to the individual. WWE-esque. Entrance music is missing though, probably something for the future.
The Toss took place on the DJ stage
Yes, this is not an exercise. The two skippers and the match referee arranged the toss on the DJ stage. Was it really cool? debatable. But it did fit in with the general motive of the competition to break stereotypes.
How did the match differ from a normal T20 game?
Two runs awarded in case of no-ball
Yes, you read that right. Two runs, not one, are awarded to the batting team should the bowling team bowl a no-ball.
Strange freestyle rule for no-balls
Going through the first game, it seems that there are no free hits for balls that are called “no-ball” because of the height. Shabnim Ismail of Oval Invincibles threw a no-ball (due to height) in the first innings (didn’t exceed), but the batting side didn’t get a free hit. But when Kate Cross violated, the batting side was indeed awarded a freestyle.
Nowhere is the term ‘overs’ used
That’s right. At The Hundred we deal purely in balls, and only balls. The word ‘overs’ is not mentioned. Not in the scorecard, not by the commentators. Say goodbye to terms like ‘run rate’, ‘required run rate’ etc. They don’t exist here. All you have, and will be shown, are balls and runs. It might annoy a geek, but it simplifies things, you know.
‘Five’, anywhere five
Everything associated with The Hundred is a multiple of five – it’s that simple. After every five balls, the referee draws a white card to indicate the end of a ‘five’. After the signal, a new bowler can be brought in to bowl another ‘five’, or the same bowler can bowl the next five balls. Remember that a bowler can throw a maximum of 10 consecutive legal balls.
In one inning, a bowler can bowl a maximum of 20 balls. But the distribution of the 20 balls is entirely up to the captain. A bowler can cast 4 spells of 5 balls each, or 2 spells of 10 balls each, or 1 spell of 10 and 2 spells of 5. Everything is allowed.
A power play of 25 balls
Again a multiple of five. Instead of the conventional ‘six overs’, the power play in The Hundred is the first 25 balls in turns.
The scorecard graphics were certainly…interesting.
It would be nearly impossible to explain the images via text without sounding silly, so below is the screenshot of what the actual scorecard looked like and what they showed.
Yes, this is all you get. Batter’s names (and their scores), bowler’s name (and their figures), balls, runs and wickets. No ball-for-ball breakdown. No information about what happened in the previous ball. No context for what happens in the ‘five’. Only balls, runs, wickets and the desired goal.
There is one interesting aspect in this image that is dynamic. The two bars on either side continue to fluctuate in size. During the first innings, the bar expands over time, and during the second innings, it shrinks. Some may find it a distracting, unnecessary addition, but it is certainly innovative.
The white cards
The referee on the field who drew the white card for every five balls seemed bizarre. The white card was shown regardless of whether the existing bowler was replaced – this was confusing. Perhaps it would be better if the white card is only shown when a bowler needs to be replaced (i.e. at the end of their 5th ball if they bowl a 5-ball spell, or at the end of their 10th ball if they have a 10-ball spell). bowling balls).
The ECB spent as much energy advertising The Hundred as cricket in fast-forward, but only 84 balls (14 overs) were thrown by the end of the first hour of the match. That’s a figure that’s pretty standard across all forms of the game. The match nevertheless progressed at a steady pace, but it was by no means a super fast match that turned out to be completely different from T20 cricket.
Was the curtain raiser fun? Absolutely. It was a great game of cricket which was very entertaining. Did the format add to the excitement? An outright ‘yes’ can’t be the answer, but the challenges presented by the format – especially for the bowling side – certainly added to the drama and spectacle. Contrary to what was projected, the rules were indeed not too complicated and for the most part the match reflected a normal T20 match. The funky format may take time to grow in people, but there are promising signs that if not, The Hundred could turn into a fun spectacle.
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