The Hundred is a professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament involving eight men's and eight women's teams located in major cities across England and Wales. The tournament is run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and took place for the first time in July and August 2021.
|Administrator||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|Tournament format||Round-robin league and Playoffs|
|Number of teams||8 (men’s)|
|Current champion||Trent Rockets (men’s) (1st title)|
Oval Invincibles (women’s) (2nd title)
|Most successful||Southern Brave (men's)|
Trent Rockets (men’s) (1 title each)
Oval Invincibles (women’s) (2 titles)
The format was invented with the expectation that each match lasts around two-and-a-half hours. The BBC showed free-to-air broadcasts of the competition, while all of the women's matches and some of the men's matches were available to stream for free on Sky Sports' YouTube channel.
Almost all the matches take place as back-to-back double-headers at the same venue on the same day. One ticket gives access to both the men's and women's games. The men's salaries are four times higher than the women's, but the tournament prize money is equal.
A new city-based cricket Twenty20 competition similar to the Indian Premier League was first proposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in September 2016. Following early discussions between the 18 first-class counties, the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) they voted 16–3 in favour of developing the competition. On 26 April 2017, members of the ECB voted by 38-3 to push ahead with the new competition.
The idea of switching the competition from the established Twenty20 format to an entirely new type of cricket was first proposed by Sanjay Patel, the ECB's chief commercial officer, in a private October 2017 meeting with senior cricket officials. He argued that the hundred ball format would be simpler to understand for new audiences that the competition wants to attract.
Former England player and Northern Superchargers head coach Dani Hazell stated that the tournament would help with investment into the women’s regional structure and the tournament would be an important learning experience for domestic players.
The format of the game is:
- 100 balls per innings
- A change of ends after 10 balls
- Bowlers deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls
- Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game
- Each bowling side gets a strategic time-out of up to two and a half minutes
- A 25-ball powerplay start for each team
- Two fielders are allowed outside the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay
- The non-striker must return to their original end after a caught dismissal
- No-balls are worth two runs and a free hit
- Slow over-rates are penalised by one fewer fielder being permitted outside the ring for the final over.
Eight city-based teams compete during the school summer holidays. All men's and women's matches are held on the same day at the same grounds. In total there were 32 matches in the league. Each team played four matches at home and four matches away, This will include one match against every other side and then a second bonus match against their nearest regional rivals.
The team that ultimately finishes top of the men's and women's league progresses straight into the final. The teams finishing second and third will compete in the Eliminator (or semi-final), with the winner progressing into the final.
The decision to create an entirely new format of cricket, with teams based in just seven major cities, has split opinion between traditionalists who favour the historic county cricket structure and those who wish to see change.
Some current England players have been positive about the Hundred. England's Test captain at the time, Joe Root, welcomed the ECB's plans, believing it would attract a completely new audience to the game. ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan expressed a similar opinion. Former T20 captain Stuart Broad said he was hugely optimistic about the new format. Michael Vaughan echoed Broad's comments, believing that it would be an appealing concept to broadcasters, and Michael Atherton stated while a T20 match was rarely completed in a three-hour window, this can be achieved with the Hundred.
However, former MCC chief Keith Bradshaw said he hoped the 100-ball tournament would not be "innovation for innovation's sake", and voiced his concern that the new format would mean that the ECB could not exploit the T20 boom. The England and Wales Professional Cricketers' Association announced that, overall, players were "open-minded" about the tournament. India captain Virat Kohli cited concerns about the commercialisation of cricket and was not entirely in favour of the new version of the game.
Social media reaction has also been split. During the player draft on the 20 October 2019, the Twitter hashtag "#OpposeThe100" began trending, with a vocal section of cricket fans dismayed at the format of the competition, particularly fans of counties whose home grounds are not among the eight used by city franchises. Wisden noted that the response on Twitter and Facebook "has usually been cutting" but there has been less negativity on Instagram which is "mainly used by a younger age group".
Women cricketers have been particularly enthusiastic about the new format and the decision to run both competitions in parallel, with the same prize money, allowing many to turn professional for the first time.
At the conclusion of the inaugural season, it was revealed that 55% of tickets were bought by people who had never bought one before, and that several records were set with regards to television viewing and match attendance figures, particularly for the women's matches. Former England women's captain Charlotte Edwards said that the tournament had "single-handedly changed women’s cricket in this country".
Before the eight teams were confirmed, it was reported that they would carry a different identity from the long-established county teams and would not be named after cities, counties or venues. However, in May 2019, the team names were revealed to be:
Each male and female team is made up of 15 players, of whom a maximum of four can be overseas players. Players are signed using a draft system common in other franchise leagues. At least one England cricket team player is signed to each of the teams competing in The Hundred. The salary cap per team for the 2022 season is £1,000,000.
List of women's finals of The Hundred.
|2021||Oval Invincibles||Won by 48 runs||Southern Brave||Lord's||London|
|2022||Oval Invincibles||Won by 5 wickets||Southern Brave|
List of men's finals of The Hundred.
|2021||Southern Brave||Won by 32 runs||Birmingham Phoenix||Lord's||London|
|2022||Trent Rockets||Won by 2 wickets||Manchester Originals|
FanCode acquired exclusive four-year broadcast rights for India.
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