This Summer, the England Cricket Board (ECB) rolled out their version of franchise cricket never before seen in the UK. The idea of ‘The Hundred Cricket’ is to simplify the format of the game and modernising it to appeal to a new generation of cricket fans.
The franchise has 8 teams which are from all the major cities of England and Wales. For each city, there is a men’s and a women’s team thus broadening the target audience still further.
So, what are the rules of ‘The Hundred Cricket’?
1. 100 balls per innings
Each side has 100 balls to bowl, hence the title of the tournament. Traditionally, an over has 6 balls, and with my excellent knowledge of the times tables, I know for a fact that you cannot divide 100 by 6 an get a whole number! Nor can a bowler bowl half a ball! So, how many balls are in an over in The Hundred Cricket?….
2. Each over has 5 balls! Simple!
Since this tournament is a modernized take on the traditional game of cricket, and in keeping to the aim of shortening the game, each over consists of 5 balls, with one bowler having an opportunity to bowl a maximum of 4 overs.
They cannot bowl all 4 overs one after the other, but, one bowler can bowl 10 balls (i.e. 2 overs) in a row. After they’ve bowled their first 5 balls, the umpire shows a white card to indicate the bowlers’ intention to continue bowling thus making it a 10-ball over.
Each bowler can decide if they want to bowl 5-ball overs, 10-ball over sets or a combination of the 2. Whatever they choose, once completed, they must swap out.
Each side is allowed one ‘strategic time-out’. This is where the match is stopped for up to 2 minutes. In this time, the coach is allowed on the field of play to discuss tactics with their players.
4. Bowling End must Change after 10 balls
To keep the game fair, bowlers and the wicket-keeper swap ends every so often. This is true for all formats of the game.
Unlike international cricket or other formats of the game where the change happens after 6 balls, in ‘The Hundred Cricket’, the bowlers must swap to the other side of the wicket after ten balls. They also must not take longer than 50 seconds to complete that change-over – see ‘7. Cut-off time’
5. 25-ball powerplay
First, let’s explain what ‘powerplay’ in cricket means:
A powerplay is introduced in the opening overs of short-format cricket i.e. ODI’s and T20 Cricket. It is when the fielding team must only have 2 fielders in the outer circle of the field thus exposing the boundaries to allow for fast scoring by the batting side.
The idea is to create an exciting game of cricket as there is more opportunity for the batters to successfully score boundaries or find the gap to get quick 2 runs where otherwise they might only get a single.
In The Hundred Cricket, a powerplay happens in the opening of the innings and lasts for the first 25 balls bowled.
The Hundred Cricket is created to be short, fun, and entertaining. To consistently ensure, it keeps to this short format the cut-off time rule which has 2 primary elements has been introduced:
6. Extras are 2 runs for wides and 2 runs and a free hit for no-balls!
In traditional cricket, be it one-day or test, a wide or no ball equates to one run for the batting team. But in The Hundred Cricket, 2 runs are awarded to the batting team for a wide and if a no-ball is bowled, the batting team is awarded 2 runs and a free-hit (free-hit is not given for bouncers) potentially increasing the final chase score for the opposition and definitely increasing the pressure on the bowlers to make sure they give as few wides and no-balls as possible.
Let’s hope the batter doesn’t get a run out on a free hit! 😉
7. Cut-Off time
a. Changes in ends must not take longer than 50 seconds.
Therefore game length is estimated at around 2 ½ hours.
b. An innings must not take longer than 65 minutes.
Since there is a limit to how long an innings lasts, each over has a calculated duration. So, if a bowler is taking too long to complete their over, a cut-off time flashes on the screens around the stadium letting the bowler know a countdown has started in which they must complete their deliveries of that over.
Should they fail, a penalty is given to the fielding side – this is in the form of a fielder moving from the outer circle to the inner circle of the field. Again, as with the intention of the powerplay, this exposes a part of the boundary, giving the batsmen a greater opportunity to score more runs through that gap.
So, there you have it, these are the rules to The Hundred Cricket which is well and truly underway. A total of 32 games will be played, with the top 3 teams competing on ‘Finals Day’.
The team finishing top of the table will automatically qualify for the final with their opponents being the winner of the 2nd and 3rd place semi-final play-off.
The teams taking part in the first-ever The Hundred Cricket tournament are (in alphabetical order!):
Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Northern Superchargers, Oval Invincibles, Southern Brave, Trent Rockets and Welsh Fire (Tan Cymreig).
Who are you supporting?