Oval and Manchester kick off the new format tournament ‘The Hundred’ tonight. Women’s edition started last night and Men’s will begin tonight. It will be a 100-ball tournament and a bowler can bowl a maximum of 20 balls.
The Hundred will finally get underway in Kennington Oval ground when Oval will host Manchester in the opening game of the first edition. It was postponed last year due to covid. It will be a new format with new rules but England’s approach to cricket’s commercialism is high. Each team will play four home matches and four away matches, followed by one bonus match with regional rivals.
Manchester might be led by Jos Buttler who will play under the quota of one English Test player. He will be available for the first two games. Buttler’s role will be important after his good numbers in the home season and successful outings in Indian T20 League. Manchester will also rely on their overseas players Lockie Ferguson, Carlos Brathwaite, and Colin Munro. They are also coming off a good practice in T20 Blast. Munro did well in Pak T20 League and Ferguson got a hat-trick in the T20 Blast. Brathwaite has also been exceptional with his bowling. Some local players like Phil Salt, Colin Ackermann, Ollie Robinson, Sam Hain, and Joe Clarke might find the name in playing XI. Sam Hain scored 393 runs in T20 Blast at an average of 43.67 and Joe Clarke has 366 runs from 11 matches.
Meanwhile, Oval are also a good side. Sam Billings might lead the side. They have two English Test players Rory Burns and Sam Curran. Sam Curran is likely to get the final nod. They have some quality overseas players like Sunil Narine, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Colin Ingram. Shamsi is busy in Ireland series so he would be unavailable for the first two games but he will be impactful later in the tournament. Oval have a slight edge in local players. They have Jason Roy, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Laurie Evans, Will Jacks, and Saqib Mahmood who will be part of the XI for sure. Saqib Mahmood was the leading wicket-taker of the ODI series against Pakistan. Their batting lineup is pretty strong considering Roy and Billings are in top order.
In women’s game, the chasing side won the game when the toss-winning captain elected to bat first. Top-order performances will matter here considering the 25-ball powerplay. Both teams will look to get maximum runs in the powerplay. Meanwhile, the best bowler will bowl the final 10 balls. It would be interesting how Oval and Manchester skipper deals with this new format.
Kennington Oval is a good batting surface but it will help pacers with the new ball. Chasing would be a good call because it will give the captain a clear idea of the pitch. 130-140 would be a competitive total on this surface in a hundred format.
Sam Curran, Sunil Narine, Colin Ingram, Tom Curran, Reece Topley, Alex Blake, Jason Roy, Sam Billings (WK), Laurie Evans, Will Jacks, Saqib Mahmood
Colin Munro, Jos Buttler (C & WK), Phil Salt, Joe Clarke, Colin Ackermann, Matt Parkinson, Carlos Brathwaite, Lockie Ferguson, Ollie Robinson, Sam Hain, Jamie Overton