The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed the playing conditions for its longstanding dream project, the inaugural edition of The Hundred, starting July 22. The new 100-ball competition will follow an interesting set of rules, unique to some of the traditional regulations in play in other internationally recognised formats.
One fundamental shift is the move from “balls” to “overs” as the unit to measure the innings progression. As was confirmed earlier, the number of balls bowled in an “over” will be reduced from six to five for The Hundred and thus the on-field umpires will be calling a “five” instead of the usual “over” at the completion of every set of five deliveries.
But, while the commentators and broadcasters will be not be using the word “over” or “overs” during live broadcast, an ECB official confirmed to ESPNcricinfo, it can be used for description on scorecards and in written reports.
The umpires will be using a white card to signal the end of an over. The white card signal is important since The Hundred’s regulations stipulate that the two sets of five deliveries will be delivered from one end – this, at times by one bowler at a go. It’ll help players, scorers, broadcasters and crowds keep the track of developments.
There will be a 50 seconds break at the point of changing the ends after every two overs. The powerplay field restrictions will be in play for the first 25 balls of a 100-ball innings. Fielding teams can take a two-minute strategic time-out at any point post the powerplay.
The Hundred will witness a tweak in the toss regulations as well, as it “does not have to take place in the middle” and can, as ESPNcricinfo reported, be held on a stage set aside for “the DJs and other live entertainment at each venue.”
DRS to be used for the first time in English domestic cricket via The Hundred
The ECB has also announced that the DRS will be used in the English domestic scene for the first time with The Hundred. The tournament will follow cricket’s recently adopted method to call the no-balls, with the third umpiring monitoring the same.
In case of rain-interrupted matches, an amended form of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method will be followed. The algorithm in use will be similar to that for a T20 game but greater weightage will be assigned to the balls faced rather than the overs completed before arriving at the rejigged targets. The statistical record for The Hundred, reported ESPNcricinfo, will be “logged under the existing T20 data.”
Unlike most other popular tournaments in the world, The Hundred will not be breaking the ties during the league stage and will have teams sharing points if they end on identical totals. For the Eliminator and the final, however, a tie will be followed by a super five (super over in normal case). If the super five is also tied, another super five will be contested. And if that too ends without an outright result, the team which finished higher during the league stage will be considered the winners.
As for over-rates, if a team is behind, it will be penalised by a deduction of one fielder that it could’ve otherwise placed outside the circle. This will be in play from the “point the penalty is incurred”. Since The Hundred will have a lot of double headers, the ECB has accorded each game its separate timeslot and doesn’t want any of them to run into each other’s slot.
The different set of playing conditions announced for The Hundred has, as expected, ruffled the feathers with the traditionalists and those seeking a greater ease of understanding the rules in play. But there is certainly also a sense of disregard among the wider public to the fact that the unique regulations are aimed solely to aid The Hundred’s distinctively faster nature and unprecedented watching experience.