#TheHundred: First Games Recap

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! On Friday I posted my first post outside of horse racing where I focused on cricket as I wanted to start venturing out to new sports in which I love and when I took a look at the figures I was pleasantly surprised by the number of views that post had. I also received a lot of messages saying they enjoyed my input and I should continue to do more. So that being said I will be posting more about cricket, a little about football and of course plenty of horse racing content too – that will still be my main focus but I do also want to focus on other sports now too because I enjoy sport in general and I love researching, reading, watching and writing all about the sports I love so why not venture out a little more?

With all of that being said, we are now well into the tournament with every team to have played their first game, so today’s post is a little recap of what we have seen so far up until yesterday’s games, who has stood out to me as well as a look at the current female and male tables before today’s matches. Please note each write up is done as the game ends so they can be as accurate as possible at the time of writing – therefore I may refer to a players form in this tournament during a write up before I have seen their next game – Please bare this in mind when reading. So without further ado, let’s get right into it!


Day 1 – Wednesday 21st July

So the first game of the tournament, was the ladies teams from Oval Invincibles vs Manchester Originals and I thought it was a very good opening game. Of course we all had no idea what to expect, it was a new concept and we were all learning, but the first game did not disappoint, what a way to start a new tournament. When watching on Sky Cricket, Nasser Hussain said he believed a score of between 150 and 175 would be a good score in this tournament so it would be interesting to see how close to that area the teams would get.

Manchester Originals scored 135 off their 100 balls with notable performances from Lizelle Lee opening the batting with 42 off 39 balls including 6 fours, Georgie Boyce coming in 3rd and hitting 21 from 19 balls including 3 fours and Harmanpreet Kaur with 29 from 16 balls including 6 fours. Overall a pretty good score. A notable bowling performance coming from Marizanne Kapp who bowled her full 20 balls with 20 dot balls (no score), 2 wickets and only going for 20 runs as well as Tash Farrant who also bowled her full 20 balls with 10 dot balls taking 3 wickets and only going for 25 runs.

Into the second innings it very much looked like it was Manchester Originals’ game to throw away. With some very early wickets Oval Invincibles found themselves to be 36 for 4 wickets and no chance of coming back. However captain Dané van Niekerk and fellow South African international Marizanne Kapp managed to set up a brilliant partnership taking the team to 109 before Kapp got stumped, finishing her innings with 38 runs from 27 balls including 3 fours and 2 sixes. With only 18 balls left, it was time for Mady Villiers to come into bat and wow did she impress! In the end Oval Invincibles finished with 139 runs from 98 balls beating Manchester Originals. Captain van Niekerk finished on 56 not out from 42 balls including 8 fours and 1 six and Villiers finishing with 16 not out from 8 balls including 1 four and 1 six.

I think it is also important to note some bowlers from the second innings including captain Kate Cross who bowled 18 balls including 7 dot balls for 28 runs with 3 wickets, Laura Jackson who bowled 15 balls, 8 dots, 1 wicket for 16 runs and finally Sophie Ecclestone who bowled 20 balls, 11 dots and 1 wicket only going for 23 runs.

Overall I was very impressed by van Niekerk, I think she captained brilliantly and when her team needed her the most she came out and performed with the bat, I was also impressed by Ecclestone, she kept her cool and bowled extremely well throughout and really put the pressure on, however I was most impressed by Villiers. She bowled well only going for 29 runs from her 20 balls, taking 1 wicket, but then when it looked like her team could be down and out she came out and supported her captain, hitting a couple of boundaries and winning the game for her team and she is only 22, she has a huge, long career ahead of her and I would say she is one to watch in this tournament and beyond.


Day 2 – Thursday 22nd July

Second day of the tournament and our first men’s game. First into bat were the Oval Invincibles and some performances to note were Jason Roy with 20 from 12 balls, Sam Billings with 49 from 30 balls and Tom Curran with 29 from 18 balls taking their total to 145 runs from 100 balls, slightly more than yesterdays game, again unsure if this would be a chase-able target in this tournament but we would soon find out. Notable bowling performances in the first innings were Tom Hartley who bowled 20 balls, 10 dot balls, 24 runs and taking 2 wickets, Fred Klaassen who bowled 15 balls including 5 dots for 23 runs taking 3 wickets and Steven Finn who bowled 15 balls including 6 dots for 22 runs and 2 wickets.

Into the second innings, some notable performances here are Colin Munro who scored 26 from 22 balls including 3 fours and 2 six, Carlos Brathwaite who scored 37 from 29 including 2 fours and 1 six and Calvin Harrison who scored 23 from 16 balls including 3 fours – but even with those key performances Manchester Originals could only manage to score 136 runs from their 100 balls, laving them 10 short of their target of 146.

Some notable performances – other than his awful no ball in the final 5 balls – Sam Curran who bowled 20 balls with 7 dots for 27 runs taking 2 wickets, Sunil Narine who bowled 20 balls including 8 dots, for 22 runs taking 1 wicket and finally Nathan Sowter who bowled 15 balls including 4 dots for 18 runs and taking 2 wickets.

In this game I was impressed by Brathwaite – very well known for being to hit a ball very hard, very far and he didn’t disappoint here in the first game, also impressed by Billings, a lovely performance in the middle order to really set his team up to finish with a decent score but my person to watch from this game would be Sam Curran. He opened the batting for the Oval Invincibles and we didn’t really get to see him at his best – He faced 3 balls including 1 six and being bowled so hopefully next game out we see more from him, however he is my one to watch due to his bowling, other than his awful no ball in the final 5 balls I think he bowled very well and he seems to have the perfect yorker that many batsmen can’t get away so he could be a real danger moving forward.


Day 3 – Friday 23rd July

Game 1:

We then head into day 3 and the first double header of the tournament and my home team – Birmingham Phoenix vs London Spirit in both the women’s competition and the men’s competition.

First into bat were Birmingham Phoenix and we seen some brilliant performances from Eve Jones who scored 47 from 41 balls including 9 fours and from captain Amy Jones who scored 33 from 17 balls including 5 fours and 1 six. – Side note: When I played cricket for Warwickshire in my teenage years I played alongside Amy and I absolutely love seeing her doing so well because she was always one of the nicest people you could play with. With some star performances from the two Jones’ Birmingham Phoenix finished up with 128 from 100 balls. One notable bowling performance was from Freya Davies who bowled 20 balls, 8 dots only going for 19 runs for 1 wicket – I believe this was the first bowler in the tournament to go for less runs than balls bowled with 0.95 runs per ball – Very impressive in this sort of game.

Into the second innings some very impressive performances from Naomi Dattani who scored 34 from 19 balls including 4 fours and 1 six, followed by Heather Knight who scored 21 from 17 balls including 3 fours and Deepti Sharma who scored 28 from 24 balls including 3 fours. London Spirit managed to get over the line scoring 132 from 96 balls. Another notable performance with the ball is Erin Burns who bowled 20 balls including 11 dots and only going for 15 runs with 2 wickets, meaning only 0.75 runs per ball – Again very impressive to go for less than a run a ball in this type of game.

Here I was impressed with Eve Jones and Amy Jones – both went out to bat and did extremely well and built a huge partnership of 64 runs and if Amy had not been bowled when she was I think the partnership could have maybe doubles and really built up their score – Amy was a very important wicket for London Spirit. I was also impressed by Davies, again for someone to bowl and be hit for less than a run a ball in this form of cricket is very impressive and not something many bowlers can achieve however my one to watch from this game has to be Burns. She went for 0.75 runs a ball which essentially pro-longed Birmingham’s chances of winning. She took 2 important wickets in Dattani and Sharma and she put pressure on the away team because they just could not score runs from her. I was really impressed by her and I look forward to seeing her throughout this competition.

Game 2:

Onto game 2 of the day and the men’s tournament. I was lucky enough to be invited by the team at Edgbaston to watch today’s games however due to work commitments I could only make the second game and it was an amazing night! The atmosphere was incredible, the game was brilliant and overall I just really enjoyed it with my family.

The first innings seen London Spirit put into bat and opening batsman Zak Crawley did not disappoint with a huge 64 from 40 balls including 6 fours and 3 sixes with a notable performance from Joe Denly who hit 25 from 14 balls including 1 four and 2 sixes. London Spirit ended up with 144 runs from their 100 balls. A notable bowling performance from Adam Milne who bowled 20 balls, 10 dots, 18 runs and 2 wickets – Another player who went for less runs than balls bowled with 0.90 runs per ball, incredible bowling from him.

Into the second innings Birmingham Phoenix had a couple of notable performances with England T20 superstar Liam Livingstone hitting 19 from 15 balls including 1 four and a massive 6 once again, captain Moeen Ali hitting 40 from 30 balls including 3 fours and 1 six and Chris Benjamin arguable winning the game for us with 24 from 15 balls including 1 four and 2 sixes. Birmingham Phoenix ended up with 148 from 97 balls a pretty impressive win – maybe I’m being biased here. Notable bowling performance from Mohammad Nabi who bowled 20 balls with 7 dots, 20 runs and 1 wicket – a run a ball when you’re on the losing team makes the game a lot closer – the pressure was on Birmingham when they couldn’t score runs against him.

I was impressed by Crawley, he carried his team very early on to a brilliant start and at one point I didn’t think we would ever get him out. Milne was also very impressive, opening the bowling and applying pressure straight away, another one was Liam Livingstone – If you follow my Twitter you would have seen me say I love watching him and he’s slowly becoming my favourite person to watch in limited over games and it’s true – We didn’t see him for very long but in person you really see how hard he can hit a cricket ball and his 6 was very impressive. If he gets in and goes from ball 1 I think any team will be scared of him – also very hard to set a field for because he just goes over them even when you have your fielders on the boundary. I also liked Benjamin, he knew the assignment when he came out to bat and boy did he perform when his team needed him to. However my one to watch is Ali – a brilliant captain – I think he captained extremely well and he carried the team when we needed him to with the bat and he was just very impressive overall.


Day 4 Saturday 24th July

Game 1:

Day four sees 2 sets of double headers the first being Trent Rockets vs Southern Brave. The first innings seen Southern Brave go into bat. Notable performances include Stefanie Taylor who hit 45 runs from 31 balls including 4 fours and 1 six and Anya Shrubsole who scored 40 runs from 30 balls including 5 fours and 1 six. They ended their innings with 133 from their 100 balls. Notable bowling performances were Sammy-Jo Johnson who bowled 15 balls including 7 dot balls taking 1 wicket and only 13 runs and also Katherine Brunt who bowled 20 balls including 9 dot balls and only 18 runs – No wickets but nonetheless very impressive figures.

Into the second innings, some very impressive batting in the middle order for Trent Rockets including Natalie Sciver who scored 44 from 29 balls including 8 fours and also Heather Graham who scored 24 runs from 17 balls including 4 fours. However even with a couple brilliant performances in the middle order it was not enough to win, with Trent Rockets finishing their 100 balls on 110 runs, 24 short of their target. Notable bowling performances here from Amanda-Jade Wellington who bowled 20 balls including 11 dots and only 10 runs and Anya Shrubsole who bowled 20 balls, including 13 dot balls taking 4 wickets and only 13 runs.

In this game I was impressed by Stafanie Taylor, with the bat she steadied the middle order after a bit of a dreadful start from her team. I was also impressed by Wellington who went for 0.5 runs a ball which is incredible in this type of game and for her to put so much pressure onto the Trent Rockets it was impressive to see. However my one to watch from this game is definitely Anya Shrubsole. Very impressive with the bat and then to come on to bowl and take 4 wickets for next to no runs she really led the team incredibly and I think she is just so talented honestly.

Game 2:

Into the second game now and for me I think this was the least impressive game so far for me to be honest. The first innings we seen Southern Brave bat and there was only one real notable performance in Ross Whiteley who scored 39 in 29 balls including 3 fours and 2 sixes – I wasn’t too impressed by anyone else here. In 100 balls Southern Brave scored 126 runs. On the other hand one very notable bowling performance is of course Marchant De Lange who took the first five wicket haul in the tournament and what a spell he had. 20 balls, 10 dot balls, 20 runs and 5 wickets – Incredible figures and an incredible performance by him.

Into the Trent Rockets’ innings and D’Arcy Short scored 51 from 41 balls including 5 fours and 1 six and Dawid Malan who scored 62 runs from 43 balls including 7 fours and 2 sixes with them steering their team to victory with 127 runs in 82 balls. Again I wasn’t very impressed by Southern Brave, the target they set wasn’t huge but then they gave away 14 runs in extras. Not really any notable bowling performances either as only 1 wicket was taken and not much else to note.

If I’m 100 honest I wasn’t impressed by the Southern Brave at all, not really any stand out performances from them from the bat or ball other than Whiteley’s 39 runs to set some sort of target for Trent Rockets. I was impressed by Short and Malan, they both carried their team to victory quite comfortably in the end, very enjoyable to watch them both bat. But my one to watch here is De Lange. His bowling figures were immense and how could you not be impressed by him? If he can bowl like that throughout this whole tournament then he could be a danger to any team.

Game 3:

Next up was the Northern Superchargers vs Welsh Fire in the women’s competition. First innings seen Welsh Fire batting with a notable performance from Hayley Matthews who scored 30 from 20 balls, not many notable performances here. From their 100 balls they hit 130 runs. Interesting that this was the first game of the whole tournament where a team only used 5 bowlers to bowl their 100 balls – completely allowed with each being allowed to bowl 20 but surprisingly the only team to have done so. Notable bowling performances from Linsey Smith who bowled 20 balls, 11 dots, 14 runs taking 3 wickets and also Katie Levick who bowled 20 balls including 11 dots for 16 runs taking 2 wickets. I do also want to mention Liz Russell who I used to play with at Warwickshire when I was younger. She was my captain when I was 12 years old playing up an age group in the under 15’s and I’m so happy to see her doing so well as she really helped me feel comfortable when I was playing up an age group with people I didn’t really know – she bowled 20 balls, with 6 dots, taking 1 wicket for 24 balls.

Into the second Innings and a very impressive 92 from 43 balls including 17 fours and 1 six – not out – from Jemimah Rodrigues for the Northern Superchargers – A slightly bigger run chase and we quite possible would have seen the first century of the tournament – very impressive! Singlehandedly she essentially carried her team to win with 131 runs scored in 85 balls – pretty comfortable win for them. Only real notable mention for the bowling side would be Piepa Cleary who bowled 15 balls, including 10 dot balls, going for 14 runs and taking 1 wicket.

I was impressed by Matthews who essentially carried her team to a respectable score with not many of those around her adding to the total. I was also impressed by Linsey Smith, she took 3 wickets and went for next to no runs in her spell which is a continuous pressure on the batting team if they can’t score from her. However my one to watch has to be Rodrigues with her 92 not out. The highest score in the tournament so far across both the women’s competition and men’s competition which is very impressive. Even when wickets were falling around her she didn’t lose her cool and she continued to play her normal game and she singlehandedly carried home the Northern Superchargers here – very very impressive. You have to feel like after watching her today any team she faces either need to get her out early of try and starve her of the strike and focus on those around her.

Game 4:

Game four of the day I was very much looking forward to with Jonny Bairstow of the Welsh Fire taking on Ben Stokes of the Northern Superchargers in what looked to be a very good game on paper and it did not disappoint!

First innings we seen Welsh Fire go into bat with captain Jonny Bairstow getting his team off to a brilliant start with 56 runs from 36 balls including 5 fours and 3 sixes, further down the order seen Ben Duckett score 41 from 27 balls including 6 fours, also Glenn Phillips scoring 23 from 14 balls including 1 four and 2 sixes and then Jimmy Neesham with 30 from 11 balls including 3 fours and 2 sixes. Overall a very impressive team finishing with 173 runs in their 100 balls. Bowling wise Ben Stokes was the most impressive with 10 balls bowled including 5 dot balls, 8 runs and 1 wicket – the wicket being, arguably, the most important one of Bairstow.

With the biggest run chase of the tournament so far ahead, Northern Superchargers started off okay with Adam Lyth scoring 25 from 14 balls including 4 fours and 1 six, we then see the most impressive innings for the team when 22 year old Harry Brook scored 62 runs in 31 balls including 3 fours and 5 sixes. Unfortunately they finished short with 168 runs from their 100 balls. The biggest notable bowling performance was Qais Ahmad who bowled 20 balls including 8 dots with only 13 runs but a huge 4 wickets.

I was very impressed by Bairstow, he looked pretty solid opening the batting and captaining his team. Also impressed by Neesham who came in and really did just go for it to try and set a huge target and very much succeeded. And of course Ahmad who took 4 wickets and really did put a halt to proceedings when Northern Superchargers looked like they could come close. However my one to watch from this game is Harry Brook. I was very very impressed by his 62 from 31, he looked pretty solid and if he had stayed in I do think he would have carried his team over the line. I really do think he could go on to push his team over the line in future games in this tournament.


So there we have it, every teams first game of the tournament. So what do the tables look like at this point? (As per the official #TheHundred app)

Women:

TeamPlayedWinLoseDrawPoints
Northern Superchargers11002
Southern Brave1 1 0 0 2
London Spirit1 1 0 0 2
Oval Invincibles 1 1 0 0 2
Manchester Originals1 0 1 0 0
Birmingham Phoenix 1 0 1 0 0
Trent Rockets 1 0 1 0 0
Welsh Fire 1 0 1 0 0

Men:

TeamPlayedWinLoseDrawPoints
Trent Rockets 1 1 0 0 2
Birmingham Phoenix 1 1 0 0 2
Oval Invincibles 1 1 0 0 2
Welsh Fire 1 1 0 0 2
Northern Superchargers 1 0 1 0 0
Manchester Originals 1 0 1 0 0
London Spirit 1 0 1 0 0
Southern Brave 1 0 1 0 0

Only one game in for each team so of course everything is still to play for and hopefully it’ll be a close competition with no runaway leaders.

As I said in my previous post about #TheHundred I think it’s a pretty good tournament and I have been really impressed with the majority of the games I have seen so far. The only thing I really do not like or agree with is the fact that the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) have thrown in a test match series England vs India in the middle of it so if players are selected in the squad for that then you can only play in the first two games of the tournament. For me if the ECB want this new tournament to work then surely the best players i.e. England players should be available to play the whole time? Really not something I like about this whole thing. That being said, I am still looking forward to it, I just believe the ECB should have supported the initiative by not putting England commitments right in the middle of it.

Have you been watching? If so who are you supporting? Who’s impressed you so far? Tweet me your opinions!

I will see you all Wednesday evening for a brand new horse racing history story and it is a super interesting one!

What is #TheHundred and is it a Good Thing for Cricket?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today’s post is very different to my regular horse racing posts, but we all love a little bit of variety right?

So as we are all aware by now, the new cricket tournament #TheHundred has kicked off and it is being heavily spoken about all over the country by cricket lovers and cricket haters. Now if you seen my Twitter this week you’ll have seen I used to play cricket myself for Warwickshire, I was the first 12 year old to hit a century as well as in my final season playing I finished the top bowler in the whole country and watching the England vs Pakistan T20 series really made me miss playing and then now with #TheHundred I am definitely missing it. So I thought as a cricket lover and ex player why not have a little look at the new tournament.

Personally I think it’s brilliant when a sport comes out with new and exciting concepts to attract a wider audience. Many people have a negative concept of cricket, with many saying it’s a boring sport, however in more recent times we have a lot of people slowly changing their mind thanks to the likes of Ben Stokes and his antics and in the recent T20’s Liam Livingstone. So a new, exciting concept may just help to change more opinions.

So what is #TheHundred? Essentially it is normal cricket but different. 100 balls, 5 or 10 per turn from a bowler – this decision is down to the captain, however each player can only bowl 20 balls per game and no matter what after 10 balls the teams swap ends. If someone is caught out, even if the batsmen cross the new batsman faces the next ball. Each team has 1 review and the power play is the first 25 balls of each inning. Essentially a power play means the fielding team can only have 2 players outside of the inner circle – once the power play ends they can have an additional 3 for the men meaning 5 are allowed outside of the inner circle and 2 for the women meaning 4 are allowed outside of the inner circle. However the fielding team is only given 1 hour and 5 minutes to bowl their 100 balls, if they are not into their last 5 balls when that 1 hour and 5 minutes hits then the team have to bring a player into the inner circle. Another new change is that the fielding team can call a 2 minute time out, this is to be called by the captain and here the coach can come onto the pitch and discuss tactics with the team. Only 1 can be called and it can be called at any point in the 100 balls.

Essentially 2 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a tie or no result and 0 points for a loss. The team who finishes at the top of the group will go straight into the final with the second and third placed teams playing an eliminator match to reach the final.

So who are the teams? We have Birmingham Phoenix playing out of Edgbaston in Birmingham, London Spirit playing out of Lords in London, Manchester Originals playing at Old Trafford in Manchester, Northern Superchargers playing out of Headingly in Leeds, Oval Invincibles playing out of the Oval in London, Southern Brave playing out of the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, Trent Rockets playing out of Trent Bridge in Nottingham and finally Welsh Fire playing out of Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

There is a male tournament and a female tournament with most being double headers when you attend, so if you buy tickets you get to see both games, which I think is great!

So what do I think? As a female who used to play cricket I think it’s brilliant for the women’s game. On Wednesday evening, they allowed the women to open the tournament in a stand alone game – no male game after. And I thought that was brilliant to see because the female game has never been taken as serious as the men. And across BBC 2, Sky Sports Cricket, Main Event and Mix there was a peak audience of 1.95 million with a huge 3.8 million in total. Now for me those figures are ridiculous. It is the most watched female game of cricket in the UK for domestic and international. Never in my life time did I think I’d see the day where a women’s game has that sort of audience.

I love cricket and I think #TheHundred is a brilliant concept. There’s been a one male and one female game so far and I’ve found myself really enjoying them. Tonight I have actually been invited by Warwickshire to Edgbaston to watch Birmingham Phoenix take on London Spirit. Unfortunately I was working today so I couldn’t make the ladies game this afternoon but I’m grateful I get to witness the men’s game tonight and I have also been invited to Edgbaston again by Warwickshire – thank you so much to their behind the scenes team for the invite for myself and my family – on August 4th for the male and female game. So if you see me there come and say hi!

I’m actually really happy that a regular channel like BBC have got behind this concept, it means a lot more people have access to the game now opposed to it only being shown on paid TV channels. I have heard – do not quote me on this as no official sources have announced it – but BBC have apparently got a contract with #TheHundred until 2024. Which, if true, is brilliant for the game!

I like the concept so far, I think it’s brilliant, it’s fresh and it has done what it was supposed to do by attracting a wider, newer audience so you can’t complain with that at all. After a rough 18 months for absolutely everybody it is brilliant seeing a full crowd able to watch live sport at an affordable price, world class players and games all up and down the country so everybody can get to a local-ish stadium to watch. I also love shorter cricket games, for me personally I have always loved the shorter game over a test match for example – please don’t judge me if you are more traditional. The T20 series are brilliant and #TheHundred is very much similar to that, it’s a little shorter, a few different rules but still very much entertaining and they have managed to get some of the biggest players in the world involved so we are definitely going to have an entertaining few weeks of cricket!

What I will say is if you are reading this and you’ve never watched cricket then do give this new tournament a watch and you might find yourself enjoying it!

Of course not everybody is going to like this new format, I completely understand that, but I believe people should be giving it a chance before judging it so harshly. We’ve had 2 games, mega crowds, plenty of people watching at home and both games we’ve seen so far have been brilliant games going right to the wire and that’s what cricket is all about in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, I was sceptical before it started, I didn’t really understand how it would work or if it would work, but now they have took the time on both BBC, Sky etc to explain the rules and differences to regular cricket I have really got into it.

The only negative thing I do want to mention the fact that not every game is available on BBC Two which is disappointing. If their aim is to gain a new audience surely they should broadcast every game so people can really follow their team and follow the group stages and see who is where. Not a huge deal but just something I thought I’d mention.

If you have watched it let me know what you think, if you haven’t then do consider watching a game and seeing what you think. Also please do not only watch the men’s games; the women are super talented and the opening game was such an entertaining one. There are some amazing women in the tournament so give it and them a chance.

That being said that is it for today’s extra midweek post. I know it’s different to my regular posts but I do want to get more into sharing other sports and other interests I have. I started my website so I could write about things I love and cricket is something I love so I thought I would share. This may become a more regular thing as I have recently re-found my love for other sports and want to share my knowledge and opinions! Let me know what else you’d all like to see – if anything in particular whether it be racing, cricket, football – anything sport related!

I will see you all tomorrow morning at 11am for my regular horse racing update!