The inaugural edition of The Hundred kicks off with a women’s match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals on July 21; all matches of the men’s and women’s tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports throughout the summer
Last updated: 02/23/21 11:51 am
Former England international Ebony Rainford-Brent believes The Hundred have made a “statement” with the historic decision to start the tournament with a women’s match.
In a first for a major sporting event in the UK, Oval Invincibles will face Manchester Originals in a women’s match to kick off the inaugural edition of The Hundred on July 21.
The men’s and women’s competitions will then be played side by side, with all matches live on Sky Sports.
“This is incredible news,” Rainford-Brent said on Sky Sports News. “Men and women facing each other side by side, the women play the first game and that’s a statement.
“Women’s sport has been put on the back burner for the last 12 months because of the pandemic and it’s a real chance for young boys and girls to turn on the TV and see something exciting and women will really drive it. It’s a fantastic message to start the tournament. “
Australian captain Meg Lanning will play for Welsh Fire, having enjoyed great success in the Women’s Big Bash League.
She hopes The Hundred can replicate the success of the WBBL Down Under.
“I hope there will be a lot of young girls watching and seeing their idols play and in the spotlight. I know all the players are really excited to be involved.
“The WBBL have played a huge role here in Australia in preparing players to play international cricket and new situations and pressure situations. I have no doubt The Hundred will do the same. The quality of the players shows how good this is. is going to be and how a lot of work has gone into it. “
In addition to starting with a women’s match, The Hundred will also offer equal prizes for men and women.
“I think it’s great and shows how much the ECB values women’s cricket and wants to make it work,” Lanning said.
“And so that the young girls watching can get that message across, there are some good opportunities to play cricket and if you get to that elite level you are on equal footing with the men. I think this is a very important message to send so it’s a good thing the ECB is doing. “
England international Sophie Ecclestone, who will play for Manchester Originals, believes the decision to start with a women’s game is “massive for women’s sport”.
“It’s big for Manchester and the girls will be so excited and I can’t wait to go and it will be a great tournament for women’s sport.”
England’s Ben Stokes also thinks it’s “a great thing for the game”.
“What women have accomplished in the past five or six years is incredible.
“Our performances on the pitch are what we’re judged on, but what resonates in the men’s and women’s game is that we want to inspire the next generation of cricketers, young boys and girls, to play.