The Women's Hundred 2021
The Hundred: Beginner's guide to England's experiment
A radical new format of cricket plays its first matches in England this week, with a number of Australians involved. Get up to speed with what it is, and how you can follow
20 July 2021, 06:00 PM AEST
Umm, what exactly is 'The Hundred'?
Great question. The Hundred is the England and Wales Cricket Board's experimental new format featuring eight brand new city-based teams going head-to-head in matches featuring 100-ball innings.
England's counties have been playing cricket against each other since the early 18th century, but gone are names like "Middlesex" and "Yorkshire", replaced by franchises with names like "Southern Brave" and "Trent Rockets" – each boasting uniforms based on the colours of their chip-packet sponsors.
Also gone are 'overs', and bowlers will instead deliver balls in sets of 'fives', with 10 deliveries from the same end at a time. It's all a bit out there, and we attempt to make some sense of it further down.
The men's and women's tournaments will run concurrently, beginning on July 21 with a women's match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals at The Oval.
The men's competition will begin a day later at the same venue.
Each team will play eight matches, with the top two sides to advance to the final. Lord's will host both the men's and women's finals on August 21.
The inaugural season was meant to be held last year but was scrapped due to the pandemic, and while the competition has been hit by a raft of major player withdrawals due to complications with travelling during the pandemic, there will still be 11 Australian players taking part.
Who are the Aussies involved?
In total, 20 Australian players have withdrawn from the tournament across the men's and women's competitions, due to issues with travelling during the pandemic.
It means the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Meg Lanning, David Warner and Ellyse Perry will not appear in the inaugural tournament, but there are still three Australians set to appear in the men's competition – Chris Lynn, Josh Inglis and D'Arcy Short – and a total of eight in the women's – Erin Burns, Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Laura Kimmince, Katie Mack, Georgia Redmayne and Amanda-Jade Wellington.
Will it still be cricket?
Sure. It's still two teams of 11 players, and if 10 wickets fall before the 100 balls have been bowled, it will still end an innings. The scoring is the same: batters have to cross and make their ground for a run, boundaries will still count for four runs and sixes will still count for, well, six runs. All the usual modes of dismissal will apply.
So, what's different to a typical T20 game?
The clue is in the name. The Hundred will feature just 100 balls per innings. That's a shift from a standard T20 match which features a maximum of 120 legal deliveries per innings. It's not seismic, the innings will be just three-and-a-bit-overs short of a regular T20, which leads to the inevitable questions of 'why bother?'. It's all aimed at reducing the length of matches in an attempt to fit into shorter broadcast slots and keep a new set of fans engaged.
So, to make the 100-ball concept work, gone are traditional six-ball overs, replaced by sets of five deliveries called, wait for it, 'fives'.
But changing ends every five balls wouldn't speed the game up any, so the fielding team will deliver two lots of 'fives' before changing ends.
The umpire will hold up a white card to signal the end of the first set of five balls and will also call 'five' at the end of a bowler's set of deliveries, instead of the traditional call of 'over'.
In a further twist, bowlers can bowl consecutive sets of five, so you could have one bowler delivering 10 balls from the end, or a bowler delivering five from one end, then switching around and delivering another five from the other end.
Everything is about speeding the game up, although the fielding side is allowed to call a two-minute timeout any point after the first 25 balls, but it's not mandatory.
Drinks are banned except at the fall of wicket, the next batter in is obliged by the game's Playing Conditions to run onto the ground at the fall of a wicket, and there'll be restrictions on when sub-fielders can run equipment onto the ground.
There's a couple of ideas being introduced that have merit: If a fielding team doesn't finish its 100 balls inside the allotted time for the innings, they must have an extra fielder brought up inside the ring until the end of the innings.
In another notable change, the non-striker must return to their original end after a caught dismissal, even if they had crossed with their batting partner.
Other changes from a standard T20 game include:
* Each bowler can bowl a maximum of four 'fives' (ie, 20 balls each)
* The first 25 balls of each innings will be a Powerplay, with only two fielders allowed outside the inner fielding circle
* No balls will be worth two runs (a free hit will still follow)
* The coin toss does not have to take place on the ground (expect made-for-tv gimmicks aplenty)
* There's now a restriction of a maximum of five leg-side fielders
* An amended Duckwoth-Lewis-Stern method, which factors in balls instead of overs, will be used for rain-reduced matches
* Tied matches in the group stage will see each team get one point each
* Tied matches in the knockout stage will see a 'Super Five' tie-breaker used. If the second 'Super Five' is also tied, the team who finished higher on the ladder during the group stage will progress to the next round.
Sounds ridiculous, why should I care?
Great question. No doubt the early stages of this tournament will have a huge amount of novelty and curiosity factor about them. And the tournament has not been without its problems, with gender parity chief among them. It will also pull players from their more traditional county fixtures, and the ECB is desperately hoping the COVID situation in the UK will allow their international stars to take part.
The reception has been lukewarm, at best, and at times outright hostile from fans of cricket's traditional formats. But the ECB has invested a huge amount of time and money to try and make this thing succeed, and they have history in this area.
The ECB also 'invented' Twenty20 cricket as we now know it today, taking a format used by park cricketers and adapting it for the professional county outfits, with the first match played by Hampshire and Sussex in June, 2003.
Opposition was immense and nay-sayers said it would never take off, yet here we are with T20 franchise competitions dominating the calendar, with the seventh's men's T20 World Cup soon to be played, and Australia having already won five of the seven women's T20 World Cups.
Who's to say what the future will hold for the Hundred?
How can I follow?
All matches will be broadcast live in Australia on Foxtel and live streamed on Kayo Sports. Sign up for Kayo Sports here.
Cricket.com.au and the CA Live app will have live scores, news and all the best video highlights.
Women's: Amy Jones (c), Amily Arlott, Thea Brookes, Erin Burns, Gwen Davies, Georgia Elwiss, Ria Fackrell, Phoebe Franklin, Kirstie Gordon, Evelyn Jones, Marie Kelly, Abtaha Maqsood, Katie Mack, Shafali Verma, Isabelle Wong
Men's: Moeen Ali (c), Tom Abell, Finn Allen, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Pat Brown, Chris Cooke, Miles Hammond, Tom Helm, Adam Hose, Benny Howell, Liam Livingstone, Adam Milne, Dillon Pennington, Dom Sibley, Will Smeed, Imran Tahir, Chris Woakes
Women's: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Amara Carr, Aylish Cranstone, Naomi Dattani, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Deandra Dottin, Danielle Gibson, Hannah Jones, Sophie Munro, Susie Rowe, Grace Scrivens, Deepti Sharma, Chloe Tryon
Men's: Eoin Morgan (c), Mohammad Amir, Ravi Bopara, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Blake Cullen, Joe Denly, Jade Dernbach, Josh Inglis, Dan Lawrence, Mohammad Nabi, Luis Reece, Adam Rossington, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Mark Wood, Chris Wood
Women's: Kate Cross (c), Georgie Boyce, Natalie Brown, Danielle Collins, Mignon du Preez, Alice Dyson, Sophie Ecclestone, Cordelia Griffith, Alex Hartley, Hannah Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Emma Lamb, Lizelle Lee, Ellie Threlkeld
Men's: Colin Ackermann, Carlos Brathwaite, Jos Buttler, Joe Clarke, Lockie Ferguson, Steven Finn, Richard Gleeson, Tom Hartley, Sam Hain, Fred Klaassen, Tom Lammonby, Colin Munro, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Phil Salt
Women's: Lauren Winfield-Hill (c), Hollie Armitage, Ami Campbell, Alice Davidson-Richards, Helen Fenby, Phoebe Graham, Bess Heath, Sterre Kalis, Laura Kimmince, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Kalea Moore, Jemimah Rodrigues, Linsey Smith, Laura Wolvaardt
Men's: Harry Brook, Brydon Carse, Faf du Plessis, Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Chris Lynn, Adam Lyth, Callum Parkinson, Matthew Potts, Adil Rashid, John Simpson, Jordan Thompson, Ben Raine, Ben Stokes, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, David Willey
Women's: Georgia Adams, Megan Belt, Sarah Bryce, Alice Capsey, Tash Farrant, Jo Gardner, Grace Gibbs, Eva Gray, Danielle Gregory, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Rhianna Southby, Dane Van Niekerk, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson
Men's: Sam Billings, Alex Blake, Rory Burns, Jordan Clark, Jordan Cox, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Laurie Evans, Brandon Glover, Colin Ingram, Will Jacks, Sandeep Lamichhane, Saqib Mahmood, Sunil Narine, Jason Roy, Nathan Sowter, Reece Topley
Women's: Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Sophie Dunkley, Smriti Mandhana, Ella McCaughan, Fi Morris, Tara Norris, Sonia Odedra, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Anya Shrubsole, Charlotte Taylor, Stafanie Taylor, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Danni Wyatt
Men's: Jofra Archer, Danny Briggs, Devon Conway, Liam Dawson, Colin de Grandhomme, Quinton de Kock, George Garton, Chris Jordan, Jake Lintott, Tymal Mills, Craig Overton, Delray Rawlins, James Vince, Max Waller, Ross Whiteley
Women's: Katherine Brunt, Kathryn Bryce, Ella Claridge, Abbey Freeborn, Sarah Glenn, Heather Graham, Teresa Graves, Nancy Harman, Lucy Higham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Michaela Kirk, Alicia Presland, Rachel Priest, Emily Windsor
Men's: Matt Carter, Sam Cook, Ben Cox, Lewis Gregory, Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, Dawid Malan, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel, Wahab Riaz, Joe Root, D'Arcy Short, Timm van der Gugten, Luke Wood, Luke Wright
Women's: Piepa Cleary, Bethan Ellis, Katie George, Amy Gordon, Alex Griffiths, Nicole Harvey, Georgia Hennessy, Sophie Luff, Lissy Macleod, Hayley Matthews, Georgia Redmayne, Bryony Smith, Sarah Taylor, Natasha Wraith
Men's: Qais Ahmad, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Tom Banton, Iain Cockbain, Josh Cobb, Matt Critchley, Ben Duckett, Leus du Plooy, Ryan Higgins, David Lloyd, Jimmy Neesham, David Payne, Glenn Phillips, Liam Plunkett, Ollie Pope