The Hundred gets underway next week, with the first game of the women’s competition taking place on July 21.
That is followed a day later by the beginning of the men’s competition, with both being completed on August 21.
The Hundred will see a brand-new 100-ball format designed specifically for the tournament.
Overs will be made up of five balls instead of the usual six, and each bowler can bowl either five or 10 consecutive deliveires.
Powerplay starts, meanwhile, last 25 balls, compared with the 36 balls (six overs) that they last for in T20 cricket.
Those changes mean that we could well see new format-specific stars emerge – even potentially in the mould of the ‘T20 specialists’ that have grown in number over recent years with the increasing prominence of that particular format.
Let’s take a look at five players to watch out for during the men’s and women’s Hundred:
Will Jacks (Oval Invincibles)
With a T20 Blast strike rate of 170.04 so far this season, Surrey opener Will Jacks is one of the hardest hitting batters on the domestic circuit.
He has scored 369 runs in the competition so far, with three scores of 50 or more. Last week, he smashed 87 off 54 balls as Surrey narrowly failed to chase down a target of 192 against Kent.
The 22-year-old was rewarded for his form with a maiden England call-up for the recent Pakistan ODI series, although he didn’t play.
The 100-ball format should suit him down to the ground. In a pre-season T10 match against Lancashire in 2019, he hit a century off 25 deliveries.
Jordan Thompson (Northern Superchargers)
A tall fast-bowling all-rounder, Yorkshire’s Jordan Thompson has had somewhat of a breakthrough season with the bat in the T20 Blast.
He smashed 66 off 28 balls in a record-breaking fifth wicket partnership of 141 with Harry Brook against Worcestershire.
Then, promoted to number three in the order, he scored 74 off 35 balls two games later, as Yorkshire piled on 224 off their 20 overs against Northamptonshire.
On the bowling side, he has taken 11 wickets from 10 Blast appearances this season, at an average of 23.90.
Benny Howell (Birmingham Phoenix)
Benny Howell has proven himself to be one of the most effective medium pacers in world cricket at Gloucestershire.
The 32-year-old’s T20 stats are remarkable, and it is perhaps an injustice that he has never played a game for England.
Howell possesses an excellent slower ball, mixes up his line and length well and averages a superb 19.80 with the ball in the competition.
This season, he has 13 wickets with the ball from 10 games, with best bowling figures of 4/15 against Sussex.
Howell is also a hard-hitting middle order batter as well. He hit 53 off 33 balls in Gloucestershire’s win over Glamorgan in June, and has a career strike rate of 126.99.
Emma Lamb (Manchester Originals)
With 220 runs from four matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, North West Thunder’s Emma Lamb topped the scoring charts for non-England players (third overall).
Her 121 off 105 balls in the opening match of the competition was the highest score of any batter on that matchday, and she followed that up with scores of 42 and 39.
Then, in the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup, she smashed an unbeaten 111 off 61 deliveries against Sunrisers – the first hundred of any player in the competition – before taking 3/16 with the ball.
Emily Arlott (Birmingham Phoenix)
Seamer Emily Arlott earned her first England call-up in June off the back of an outstanding start to the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
She took 2/48 in the second fixture against Western Storm, before backing that up with 5/29 against Southern Vipers.
In the latter game, she took a quadruple-wicket maiden – including a hat-trick.
Arlott, who by England captain Heather Knight’s own admission “[came] out of nowhere” to receive a call-up, will be looking to push on during The Hundred.
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