The Hundred is a unique upcoming 100-ball professional tournament in the 21st century cricket world. With many firsts to its credit, The Hundred 2021 is undoubtedly going to be one of the most phenomenal cricket events across the globe this year. A remarkable initiative by ECB, the tournament will commence in the middle quarter of July 2021 and will run till mid quarter of August 2021. A total of 8 city-based franchise squads will participate in the tournament, with each having both men and women teams.
Interestingly, The Hundred was initially planned as a regular T20 tournament. But, later, due to the ongoing row over present competition structure, the management decided to come up with something new. Also, the ECB wanted to introduce something novel this time to draw in more fans. Thus, in 2018 April, the ECB declared the launch of the 100 ball cricket.
According to the original 100-ball format, the upcoming tournament was proposed to host 15 traditional 6-ball overs along with one final ten-ball over. The management also asked for removal of LBW law. Although the plan sparked criticisms from several quarters yet it received huge support from English team skipper Joe Root. Finally, in 2019 February, the ECB announced revised conditions which would be the confirmed format for the upcoming tournament to commence from July 2021.
As per the reports, The Hundred will follow Round-robin League and Playoffs format. Below is a brief on the major features of the upcoming tournament:
The Hundred will have 8 city-based teams. Every 100-ball team will comprise of fifteen players. Among these, 2 would be the best performers of t20 Blast. Each team can take up to three overseas players. At least 1 player in each team (men’s) should be a player of England Test team. The Hundred players will be chosen on the basis of draft system.
The 8 teams to take part in 100-ball tournament are:
The upcoming 100 ball tournament will cover 34 matches. The first 32 would be League stage matches that would be followed by the Playoffs round. In the League stage matches, each of the teams will have to play 4 home matches and 4 away matches. The Playoffs round will commence with top 3 performing teams of the group stage 100-ball matches. The topmost performer among the three will straight head to the final match. The second and third performers will meet each other in a semi-final. The team that will win the semi-final will play the first performer in the final match.
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According to The Hundred schedule, the maiden match of The Hundred 2021 will be played on July 22, between Oval Invincibles and Welsh Fire. It will be hosted at Kennington Oval, London and will start from 6:30 p.m. (local time). The last match of the League stage will be staged on August 21, 2021, at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester. The match will be between Manchester Originals and Welsh Fire. Interestingly, both the semi-final and final of 100 ball tournament will be played on the same day, on August 20, 2021 - and at the same venue. The venue is yet to be decided though.
The 100-ball tournament will be played across 8 stadiums, located in 7 major cities across England and Wales. The Hundred stadiums include:
Kennington Oval will host the inaugural match of the maiden season the upcoming 100-ball tournament. On the other hand, Emirates Old Trafford will host the last match of the League stage.
As per the latest news, tickets for the 100-ball tournament will be available for sale right. Prices have been kept at nominal level to make the tournament affordable for all. The early bird window will initially open for the county members and will feature tickets starting from as low as £10 for men’s tournaments. The Hundred tickets for visitors under 16 are priced at £5. Entry is free for kids below 5 years of age.
During early bird stage, tickets would be divided into 3 levels for men’s tournaments-
In regards to women’s tournament tickets, there are two levels-
Tickets for the final match of the men’s tournament will come up to £30 or more. For women’s final, the ticket price would be £12.
Costs of the 100-ball tickets would vary largely based on the location of the stadiums. For example, you can always expect a higher price if you want the ticket for a match played at the legendary Lord’s. The day of the match as well as the timing of buying the ticket would also influence your cost of ticket. However, the ticket price for visitors under 16 years of age would remain unchanged all through the tournament.
BBC and Sky sports will broadcast the matches of both men’s & women’s tournaments.
Right now many fans have started thinking that this new model of cricket match might replace the existing T20 structure but this can only be guessed after the completion of the first edition of The Hundred 2021 series. How fans are going to digest, that we have to wait and watch.