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The Hundred is all Set to Challenge the IPL

The Hundred Final 2021
The Hundred Final 2021
©Reuters
 

There were raised eyebrows when the England and Wales Cricket Board announced plans for yet another format of the game, The Hundred. At a time when fans’ calendars were already jam packed and players were complaining of too much cricket and too much travel, along came a format that promised more cricket and more travel. The jury was out whether the public would take to it, and that of course would be the overriding factor in whether or not it would sink or swim.

As it happened, its inaugural season was a huge success. Stadiums were packed, the new rules worked wonderfully and fans embraced the new teams even if it meant cheering for former rivals, and against former heroes. The second season is all but ready to go, and it looks set to eclipse the first one, and to rival such competitions as the Big Bash, the IPL and the Vitality Blast.

Personalities are a huge part of sport, particularly in their ability to engage with and draw in fans. The recent loss of Shane Warne has shown how such people transcend the sport, how it is almost always these maverick, eccentric stars that elevate the sporting world to another level. They draw widespread interest, attention, and of course, fans. Cricket has missed those stars of late, and it is exactly formats like the Hundred, the IPL and the Big Bash that allows such stars the space to impose their personalities.

 

2021 Tournament

The game was a close-run thing, with Birmingham Phoenix just nudging out Southern Brave and Trent Rockets. Southern Brave won the eliminator and then beat Birmingham in the final at a sold-out Lords by 32 runs, Paul Stirling scoring 61 from 63 balls.

Birmingham Phoenix had two of the tournament’s top five highest scorers, as well as two of the top five wicket takers. Liam Livingstone, the England and Lancashire player was top scorer, amassing a whopping 348 runs, including an unbeaten 92. That total was 116 more than Welsh Fire’s Ben Ducket in second place.

Kiwi Adam Milne was one of four players to notch up 12 wickets in the tournament, the Phoenix fast bowler achieving his with an average of 10.75, and economy rate of 5.73.

 

2022 Season

This season of The Hundred will take place during the month of August, with Southern Brave getting the show started on the 3rd of the month when they host Welsh Fire. Games take place on every day of the month, with the eliminators scheduled for the 2nd September in Southampton, followed by the Lords final on the 3rd.

With more certainty this time out, the teams went into this season’s draft with a clearer idea of what would work, and what wouldn’t. Any worries about picking players from rival clubs had not materialised either. Uncertainty on overseas players availability also played a part in teams’ strategies, with many opting to go for domestic players, safe in the knowledge that not only will they be familiar with the conditions, but will also–baring injury–be available.

Chris Gayle, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Babar Azam were among a number of players touted to make their Hundred debuts but who in fact missed out, though Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Quinton de Kock did all get signed.

Birmingham Phoenix have retained their dynamic duo of Milne and Livingstone, and their squad is looking like it will certainly challenge to go one better than last time. They have just appointed Dan Vettori to the position of head coach, after Andrew McDonald was made the Australian first team coach. Vettori was in charge of the team for the last Hundred season in McDonald’s absence.

With it being such a new competition, and because of the draft system, every team will go into their opening fixtures with a sense of optimism that this could be their year.

©Cricket World 2022