THE HUNDRED: The Eliminator – Smart Van Niekerk Captaincy Wins It For Oval Invincibles

The Hundred’s “Strategic Timeouts” have been much derided throughout the short history of this tournament. Often, it has seemed as if they add little or nothing to the action, simply serving as a moment when, amongst other things, journalists can grab an extra cup of tea (ahem). Many captains – including Oval Invincibles skipper Dane van Niekerk – have readily admitted to forgetting that the timeout even exists.

But today’s strategic timeout – called by van Niekerk after 45 balls had been bowled – served a crucial purpose for the Invincibles.

At that point, Birmingham Phoenix needed 57 from 55 balls, with 8 wickets in hand and two set batters at the crease: Amy Jones on 29* and Erin Burns on 22. Oval Invincibles looked dead in the water.

Five balls later, Tash Farrant took a screamer of a catch over her left shoulder, diving full stretch running round from mid-off. Burns departed, and so the rot began.

So what exactly did DvN say to her team in the timeout? Tash Farrant relayed the short but rousing speech after the match. “If we get a few wickets we can get on a roll. Go down with a fight. Do not leave anything out on this pitch.”

It proved to be prescient: Phoenix went on to lose 8 wickets in 44 balls, falling 20 runs short of their target.

Admittedly, Phoenix were up against it with a batting line-up that even their coach Ben Sawyer described as “inexperienced”. With Shafali Verma back home in India, Katie Mack was promoted to the opening spot (she lasted 3 balls), while poor Marie Kelly entered the fray for the first time in the tournament with the score on 66 for 4, just after her captain had walked off the pitch with her head in her hands – hardly a gesture that inspired confidence.

“It does make it difficult, it’s not ideal,” Sawyer admitted when asked about the absence of Verma after the match. “If she’d have been here and knocked a few out it might have been a little bit different.”

Meanwhile Georgia Elwiss convinced Sawyer that she was fit to play in the must-win match, but was bumped down the order to number 8 to protect her thumb (which was heavily bandaged). By the time she came to the crease at 84 for 6, it was too late for her to have much of an impact on the game.

Perhaps the main fault, though, lies with Amy Jones. The Phoenix captain looked in delectable form, stroking effortless boundaries, all the way up until that strategic timeout. Soon afterwards, she drove the ball straight into the hands of van Niekerk at extra cover.

Her wicket really was the crucial one, and she knew it, pulling down her helmet over her eyes in disbelief before trudging off the pitch. Perhaps more than anyone else in the English set-up right now, in this “new normal” of big crowds in The Hundred, Jones needs to learn how to bat like nobody is watching, even when 12,000 people are doing just that.

The contrast with the calm, level-headed approach of van Niekerk as she made key decisions about when and how to best use her bowlers in defending an under-par target was marked. That included being willing to hand Alice Capsey a “ten” at an important moment, just after Capsey had taken a fantastic catch off her own bowling above her head to see off Elwiss – rather than potentially introducing Mady Villiers, whose returns this tournament have been poor.

Overall, it hasn’t been an easy year for Dane van Niekerk. She missed South Africa’s series against Pakistan and India with a back injury, and she publicly admitted at the start of this tournament that she is still struggling with fitness issues. It is also never straightforward as an overseas player to be asked to come in and bring together a team filled with players who don’t know you or each other very well, in a very short space of time. DvN, though, has done just that.

Farrant was full of praise for her captain. “She’s brilliant. Her super strength is really is how passionate she is about the game and how passionate she is in every situation. As a captain you know that she really cares about this team – it’s a franchise team, we’re new as a group, but having a captain that really cares about their players, we feed off her.”

As I write this, Oval Invincibles are doing a well-deserved victory lap of their home ground, and being given a standing ovation by over 12,000 spectators. I can’t recall seeing anything quite like that in England since the 2017 World Cup final (just one more tick box on the ever-expanding list of Reasons Why The Hundred Has Been Special For Women’s Cricket).

Talking of finals at Lord’s… there’s another one this weekend, and Oval Invincibles will – against all odds – be playing in it. Take a bow, Dane van Niekerk – you’ve certainly earned it.


By Richard Clark

Unsurprisingly, most of the big noises throughout the Hundred have come from established names, the usual suspects either from England or overseas. Most… but not all. And with the group stage complete, now felt like the right time to pick an ‘Uncapped’ Team of the Tournament, those players whose chances may sometimes have been limited but who managed to make their mark all the same.

The criteria? I’ve stuck strictly to the ‘uncapped’ rule, so no place for Abtaha Maqsood (a Scottish international), even though she has undoubtedly made an impact on and off the pitch. Ditto the Bryce sisters, and no spots either for the unrelated Smiths – Lynsey and Bryony – to an extent forgotten faces on the international stage, perhaps, but unarguably ‘capped’ all the same. That apart, I’ve gone on numbers and good old gut feel!

EVE JONES – Birmingham Phoenix (Runs 233, Ave 33.28, SR 118.87)

Third on the run charts, an absolute shoe-in for this team. Historically, not always the quickest of scorers, but invariably gave her side a base over the past three weeks. Her half-century against Fire was somewhat overshadowed by Verma’s fireworks at the other end, but she took centre stage in the winner-takes-all defeat of Superchargers, hitting three sixes in her 64 from 47 balls to set Phoenix on the road to the eliminator, and then took that stunning catch to dismiss Lauren Winfield-Hill just as it looked to be going the Leeds side’s way.

ALICE CAPSEY – Oval Invincibles (Runs 106, Ave 21.2, SR 121.83; W 7, Ave 11.85, RPB 0.87)

Might be a little disappointed that her 59 against Spirit at Lord’s was her only score of real note, but the impact of that innings alone is probably enough to seal her place. Throw in seven wickets at a miserly economy rate and she becomes one of this team’s lynchpins. Her victims with the ball included Laura Woolvaart, Danni Wyatt, Georgia Elwiss, Deandra Dottin, Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor. If any batter thought they might be able to take liberties against the 17-year-old, they will have thought again by now. Her eligibility for this team in 12 months’ time must be in severe doubt!

EMMA LAMB – Manchester Originals (Runs 135, Ave 19.28, SR 125; W 3, Ave 42, Econ 1.32)

Came good after a slow start, with scores of 32 (helping her team become the only side – so far – to beat Brave), 39 and 46 in three of her last four innings as Originals pushed their way up from the lower reaches of the table. Three for 16 against Phoenix were her only wickets, but she rarely got clobbered with the ball and always provides a steady bowling option for her team.

MAIA BOUCHIER – Southern Brave (Runs 85, Ave 42.5, SR 154.54)

85 runs may not seem like a big number, but look at that strike rate! Coming in at no. 5 behind a prolific top four, ‘the Mighty Bouch’ fulfilled her role as finisher to perfection. She may not have faced many balls, but she certainly made the most of them, and four not outs from her six innings – granted a couple were VERY brief – also point to a player with the mental wherewithal to see her job through, whether setting a target or polishing off a chase.

SOPHIE LUFF – Welsh Fire (Runs 79, Ave 13.16, SR 116.17)

Luff will probably be disappointed with her Hundred, but it’s a mark of her consistency at County and KSL level that her bar is set relatively high. Frequently coming in with her team in strife, the pressure to score quickly and not get out often told. 30 off 21 balls in a losing cause against Brave was her top score. But every team needs a skipper, and she brings more experience than most.

(Luff is the one change I’ve allowed myself from the team I original selected on Twitter, replacing Charlie Dean. Dean is a victim of my original pick being spinner-heavy, thanks to the presence of Capsey in particular, and can consider herself unlucky.)

DANI GIBSON – London Spirit (Runs 108, Ave 36, SR 180; W 3, Ave 42.33, RPB 1.33)

With the possible exception of Capsey, no uncapped player had as big a tournament as Gibson. Hard to believe now that she came in at no. 7 or below in the first four games, making a combined 58 from 30 balls across those knocks! Overdue elevation to no. 5 saw her help Dottin finish off the chase against Superchargers, before 34* off 19 balls against Fire hinted at what could have been had Spirit got their batting order right. Not the best return with the ball, perhaps, but her batting alone gets her in this team, and her fielding – notably the catch to dismiss Mignon Du Preez against Originals is an added bonus too.

EMILY ARLOTT – Birmingham Phoenix (Runs 39, Ave 13, SR 121.87; W 5, Ave 27.8, RPB 1.36)

In short form cricket where “pace can travel”, and in a tournament where spin has often been the way to go, picking a second seamer (see below for the spearhead!) wasn’t easy. Ultimately it came down to Phoenix team-mates Arlott and Issy Wong, whose numbers were spookily similar. Both took five wickets at 1.36 and 1.35 runs per ball respectively, and with the bat each played one significant cameo. Arlott gets the narrowest of nods by dint of her slightly better strike rate with the ball and the fact that her major contribution with the bat (22 off 14) got her team over the line against Rockets – crucially, as it turned out!

CARLA RUDD – Southern Brave (Runs 4, Ave n/a, SR 133.3; C 2, St 8)

In the end it was a 50/50 call between Rudd and Ellie Threlkeld, and I’m happy to take the flak from those who would have gone the other way! Rudd’s ten dismissals, including eight stumpings, ended up winning the tussle against Threlkeld’s seven. The Brave keeper faced only three balls in the entire competition, so squaring them off on their batting hardly seemed fair. For what it’s worth, Threlkeld’s 29 runs off 28 balls might be considered a little under-powered for an experienced batter, but perhaps that’s being harsh. Both were tidy, and it hardly seems fair to pick one over the other, but someone has to!


The outstanding uncapped quick bowler, and another who walks – nay, strides! – into this team. Her best balls are nigh on unplayable, and her height gives her a point of difference from other bowlers that batters often struggle to get to grips with. Three for 22 against the Invincibles was her best return, but only conceding 16 runs from 20 balls against a Phoenix top four in full flow was probably her best performance. There’s still some rawness to her, and a few too many leg side drifters, but she’s another who may not be eligible for selection in next year’s team.

KATIE LEVICK – Northern Superchargers (W 7, Ave 21.42, RPB 1.15)

Only three uncapped bowlers boasted a better economy rate than Levick, who brought all her years of experience to bear. Consistency was key, never going for more than 24 runs in any game, even if there wasn’t one stand-out display. Two for 23 against Phoenix was a good effort as her team tried to rein in Eve Jones and co, but ultimately the Midlanders pinched that final qualification slot.

HANNAH JONES – Manchester Originals (W 4, Ave 19.75, RPB 1.05)

Competing with Sophie Ecclestone and Alex Hartley as fellow left arm spinners, Jones had her work cut out to make an impact, and only forced her way into the Originals team for the final four games. However, she arguably out-bowled both – a better economy rate than Hartley and only just shy of Ecclestone’s run-a-ball thrift, she bettered the latter’s strike rate by a fair margin. Her three for 17 – including the wickets of Wyatt and Smriti Mandhana – was pivotal in Originals’ win against finalists Brave.


Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

THE HUNDRED STATS: Bowling Rankings – Best Wellington Performance Since 1815

The top-ranked bowler in the inaugural edition of The Hundred was Amanda-Jade Wellington, who produced arguably the best performance by a Wellington since The Duke’s famous victory over Napoleon’s XI at Waterloo in 1815. With 13 wickets, Wellington was not quite the leading wicket-taker in the group stages, but her outstanding Economy Rate of well under 6 runs per (traditional, 6-ball) over lifts her above Sammy-Jo Johnson (15 wickets) and Tash Farrant (14). It is remarkable to think that Wellington wasn’t even the Brave’s first choice leg-spinner – they originally selected Amelia Kerr – but on what we’ve seen this summer you’d have to think that if she was English she’d be an automatic pick for the national team, so why she isn’t even in the Australian squad is a mystery even Columbo couldn’t solve.

With none of England’s automatic white-ball bowling picks making the “Top 10”, Tash Farrant and Kirstie Gordon were the leading English bowlers. Anya Shrubsole (11th) and Sophie Ecclestone (19th) did both make the top 20, but neither Katherine Brunt (23rd) nor Sarah Glenn (29th) did. While it is true that you might not want to read too much into a short tournament where a bowler only has 20 balls to make a mark, sometimes you’ve also just got to hand over the microphone and see who can sing, and in that sense Farrant (14 wickets) and Gordon (13) in particular do perhaps continue to make a case for themselves?

The leading English non-internationals were Lauren Bell (9th, with 10 wickets at 6.91) and Alice Capsey (10th, with 8 at 5.24). England have long bided their time on Bell, waiting for her physiological development to catch up with her talent. If she was Australian, she’d have earned her first cap years ago… but also now be on her third potentially career-threatening injury. England’s theory was always that if they waited, they’d have a superb bowler for 10 years, not just 10 months; but it finally looks like it might be time for her to step up to that next level as the wicket-taking “strike” bowler England don’t really have at the moment.

As for Capsey, her fearless performances with bat and ball, in front of these huge crowds, suggest that England have a proper gem on their hands. Although Heather Knight recently tried to pour cold water on the idea of her breaking into the England team any time soon, the calls will only grow – especially if England get smashed about by Australia this winter. My only concern is that England will end up selecting her initially as a bowler, batting her down at 7 or 8, which is not where she needs to be. Her future – and England’s – is for her to be opening the batting; and given that England are not going to change their batting line-up before the Commonwealth Games, I’d rather wait a year than see her introduced in the wrong role.

Player Played Wickets Economy
1. Amanda-Jade Wellington (Brave) 8 13 5.30
2. Sammy-Jo Johnson (Rockets) 8 15 6.89
3. Tash Farrant (Invincibles) 8 14 6.98
4. Deepti Sharma (Spirit) 8 10 5.26
5. Kirstie Gordon (Phoenix) 8 13 7.60
6. Linsey Smith (Superchargers) 7 9 5.54
7. Kate Cross (Originals) 7 12 7.45
8. Hayley Matthews (Fire) 8 11 7.48
9. Lauren Bell (Brave) 8 10 6.91
10. Alice Capsey (Invincibles) 8 7 5.24
11. Anya Shrubsole (Brave) 8 7 5.77
12. Katie Levick (Superchargers) 7 7 6.92
13. Alex Hartley (Originals) 7 8 7.95
14. Dane van Niekerk (Invincibles) 8 6 6.76
15. Heather Graham (Rockets) 8 6 6.84
16. Erin Burns (Phoenix) 8 6 7.05
17. Charlie Dean (Spirit) 8 6 7.09
18. Marizanne Kapp (Invincibles) 3 4 4.80
19. Sophie Ecclestone (Originals) 7 5 6.04
20. Alice Davidson-Richards (Superchargers) 7 7 8.86

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy
Economy recalculated as 6-ball overs

THE HUNDRED STATS: Batting Rankings – Jemimah Goes One Louder

In the final year of the Kia Super League, Jemimah Rodrigues placed 2nd in our KSL Batting Rankings – in the first year of The Hundred, she has gone one louder, topping the table with 249 runs at a Strike Rate of 151. During that 2019 KSL season she started slowly, with scores of 4, 20 and 2, before finding a rich vein of form which included two 50s and a 100. In The Hundred, despite her indifferent recent form for India, she was straight out of the blocks with 92 not out against Welsh Fire, going on to score two further 50s.

Unsurprisingly, with the very best Australians and New Zealanders deciding to pass on The Hundred this year, a cluster of England stars occupy many of the top spots, led by Sophia Dunkley. Since being given a regular spot, and perhaps more importantly a clearly defined role, in the England side, Dunkley looks like a woman who has found a high gear she never knew she had. When I told a group of people at a county match four-or-five years ago that I thought Dunkley would be the next permanent England captain, even her mum looked at me like I was slightly mad. At the beginning of this season, people were still saying the idea was a long call. It doesn’t feel like one now.

The highest ranked non-international is Eve Jones at No. 5. Her success isn’t quite the surprise some seem to think it is – she has 3 County Championship 100s under her belt – and yes, that’s a big number in the old County Championship, mostly played on club pitches with huge boundaries. She also placed 4th in last year’s RHF Batting Rankings. But she has certainly continued to develop her game as one of the older “new” pros, finding the boundary 37 times in the tournament’s group stages – topped only by Jemimah, who did so 42 times.

The other leading non-internationals were Georgia Redmayne, whose performances in The Hundred would have been a factor in her recent call-up to the Australian squad for their series against India… although Cricket Australia were conspicuously careful not to say so in their press release!

And then there is Dani Gibson, who has probably more than anyone else changed the course of her entire life in the last 5 weeks. Previously primarily considered a bowler, whose late teenage years were blighted by serious injury, she has set herself on a new career path as a serious batting allrounder, hitting 108 runs at 180 – the highest Strike Rate of anyone in the top 20. Heather Knight – who usually sticks quite rigidly to established hierarchy – bumped her up the order when Spirit needed quick runs in the final match, and you’d have to say she is now a shoe-in for England’s ‘A’ tour to Australia this winter, which she was probably only on the fringes of selection for a month ago.

Player Played Runs SR
1. Jemimah Rodrigues (Superchargers) 7 249 151
2. Sophia Dunkley (Brave) 8 244 144
3. Nat Sciver (Rockets) 8 220 137
4. Heather Knight (Spirit) 8 214 130
5. Eve Jones (Phoenix) 8 233 119
6. Danni Wyatt (Brave) 8 208 132
7. Lizelle Lee (Originals) 7 215 124
8. Hayley Matthews (Fire) 8 221 119
9. Dane van Niekerk (Invincibles) 8 231 111
10. Shafali Verma (Phoenix) 8 171 143
11. Amy Jones (Phoenix) 8 141 160
12. Smriti Mandhana (Brave) 7 167 134
13. Laura Wolvaardt (Superchargers) 7 181 117
14. Georgia Redmayne (Fire) 8 187 107
15. Dani Gibson (Spirit) 8 108 180
16. Rachel Priest (Rockets) 8 138 137
17. Deandra Dottin (Spirit) 8 146 118
18. Stafanie Taylor (Brave) 8 164 104
19. Emma Lamb (Originals) 7 135 125
20. Erin Burns (Phoenix) 8 133 125

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

VIDEO: The CRICKETher Weekly Vodcast – Episode 74

More discussion about The Hundred in this week’s episode:

  • Southern Brave qualifying for the final
  • Smriti Mandhana replaced by Gaby Lewis
  • Raf’s interview with Beth Barrett-Wild (head of the women’s comp)
  • The depth of domestic talent on show
  • Dilemmas for 2022: scheduling alongside the Commonwealth Games, plus will the ECB persist with double headers?

THE HUNDRED: Invincibles v Spirit – Invincibles Close In On The Eliminator™

Oval Invincibles took a big step to qualification for The Eliminator™ with an 8-wicket win over London Spirit in front of a raucous crowd of over 10,000 at The Oval.

Crucially, the 13-ball margin of victory also served to widen the gap in Net Run Rate between them and their closest challengers – Trent Rockets and Northern Superchargers.

In fact, the only way Invincibles can now fail to qualify for The Eliminator™ (it is not really trademarked… but it so ought to be!) is if they lose their final match and both Rockets and Superchargers win theirs, leaving all 3 tied on 9 points.

This would mean that both Superchargers and Rockets would have to overturn Invincibles’ current Net Run Rate advantage. This is certainly possible, but it would need the Invincibles to suffer something of the order of a 30-run defeat to the Brave, with Rockets and Superchargers winning their games (against Originals and Phoenix respectively) by similar margins.

Invincibles v Brave could make for a very interesting final on today’s showing. Brave have been enormous with the bat; but Invincibles won today’s match with a fantastic bowling performance.

Marizanne Kapp, who returned to the side today, is obviously not 100% fit – she looks to be coming in at half pace, and the only ball she bowled today where she shaped-up to come in hard was a total bluff as she bowled Chloe Tryon with a slower ball. But, save an early no ball likely caused by holding back in her run-up, she nonetheless bowled the best bag of 20 balls you’ll likely see in this competition, finishing with figures of 2-12.

Alice Capsey’s 2-15 would have been a Player of the Match (sorry… “Match Hero”) performance on any other day. The ball that bowled Deandra Dottin in particular was a beauty – straightening sharply to take out middle-and-off.

(The fact that neither Capsey nor Kapp were Match Hero – it was Georgia Adams – just goes to show that batters get all the glory and there is no justice for bowlers in this world!)

Spirit weren’t quite as bad as they had been against Brave at Lords earlier in the competition, when they were bowled out for 93, only avoiding total humiliation thanks to a Brave barrel-full of extras. But they were still quite bad. After a slow start, with just 12 runs coming off the first 20 balls, Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont gave them a platform, taking them to 79 off 60 balls – on course for around 130; but the rest of the batting lineup totally let them down. (If Deepti Sharma wants to be considered as a genuine allrounder at this level in the shorter formats, which she obviously does, she has to do better than 11 off 14 balls.)

Spirit’s 103 was at least 25 under par, and left the Invincibles batters with a pretty easy job to do, to be honest. Of course, it was a job that still needed to be done, but Match Hero Adams, with support from Fran Wilson (who took a while to get going, but delivered in the end) and Kapp with the bat, pulled them home as only she can – mostly in the direction of cow corner!

I was a little disappointed to see Kapp come in ahead of Capsey, but she showed us how its done, and while I don’t always agree with the computer at the ICC that calculates their player rankings, there is a reason Kapp is up there with the likes of Nat Sciver and Ellyse Perry as one of the world’s best allrounders.

The Invincibles know they aren’t there yet – though they could be in The Eliminator™ as soon as Sunday evening if the Originals do them a favour by beating the Rockets. But they are looking increasingly like contenders who can help give this tournament the exciting finish it deserves.

PREVIEW: Cricket Scotland Super Series Set For A Grand Finale

Jake Perry catches up with Peter Ross and Daniel Sutton ahead of the final round of matches in the Women’s Super Series this Sunday

The final round of the Cricket Scotland Women’s Super Series begins at Titwood this weekend, with the Ross and Sutton XIs locked at four-all in the ten-T20 competition. Their last visit to Clydesdale’s ground produced the highest-scoring day of the contest so far, and after 179 played 154 in the sides’ most recent meeting at Goldenacre, both head coaches are hoping for a similarly memorable end to what has been an excellent tournament overall. 

“I think it’s been great,” said Daniel Sutton. “There have been quite a few girls who have shown exactly why they’re Wildcats, and there have also been a few who have shown that they are on the verge of playing at that level, too, which has been excellent.” 

“The overall quality has been fairly high, especially [compared to] previous years, when the batting quality we’ve seen this year hasn’t been there as much,” said Peter Ross. “Teams have chased 150, 160, and we’ve had teams scoring 170, which is testament to the ability of the players and also to the exceptional facilities we’ve been using.” 

“Every ground has provided really good quality, high-scoring cricket, and in the women’s game especially, being able to play on such good pitches has allowed us to showcase the skills that the players have worked so hard on developing over these past 24 months.”

“It’s challenged the batters to score quickly, but also the bowlers,” he went on. “In years gone by they had been used to defending 100, 120, whereas now they are being put under pressure to restrict scoring rates, which is a really good thing for them to experience.” 

While the batters have often dominated, there have been some exceptional performances from the bowlers, too, with spinners Abbie Hogg and Katherine Fraser leading the way in the averages with twelve wickets apiece. 

“Abbie has been excellent for us with her slow left-arm,” said Daniel, “and then the likes of Priyanaz Chatterji, Katie McGill and Lorna Jack have shown why they have so many caps for Scotland, too. They have been consistently good throughout the competition.” 

“Abbi Aitken-Drummond has been our best batter so far, which has been a really exciting role for her to fulfil,” said Peter. “She has always had batting potential, but this year she’s really shown that she can do a job at the top of the order as well as in the middle. Megan McColl has been good across the board, scoring runs and always taking wickets, and the same is true of Katherine Fraser, who has been going at six runs an over when everyone else has been going at eight.” 

“But it’s also been a good chance for the younger players to be pushed in that environment, too, and it’s shown them exactly where they need to develop to be able to put in the performances they need to at that next level.” 

And what of the wider future? The balancing of the teams according to specialism rather than location has led to four evenly matched and hard-fought days of cricket. For both coaches, the way ahead is clear. 

“I think this format is the best way going forward,” said Daniel. “There’s probably not enough strength in depth at the moment to facilitate cricket at this level across three regions, so two teams of the best 22 girls playing against each other week in, week out is a good way to do it.” 

“Based on the quality of the cricket we’ve had, it would be hard to argue a move away from this,” agreed Peter. “Almost every game has been close, which is a reflection of the teams that have been picked and how balanced they have been.” 

“I know that Cricket Scotland want to move towards a three-region approach as they have in the men’s stuff and at some point that will happen, but I think until that point in time you just want to have the highest quality cricket you can – the best cricketers in the country playing against each other on the best facilities we can provide.” 

The Cricket Scotland Super Series will be live-scored and streamed via CS Live. 

Ross XI: Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Ailsa Lister, Becky Glen, Megan McColl, Emily Cavender, Katherine Fraser, Hannah Rainey, Caitlin Ormiston, Anne Sturgess, Zoe Rennie, Lois Wilkinson. 

Sutton XI: Katie McGill, Priyanaz Chatterji, Ellen Watson, Samantha Haggo, Lorna Jack, Abbie Hogg, Charis Scott, Emma Walsingham, Emily McKenzie, Orla Montgomery, Nayma Shaikh, Niamh Muir.


Jake Perry is the author of The Secret Game

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

As part of their ongoing coverage of men’s and women’s domestic cricket, The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the Super Series every Tuesday, with analysis and player interviews along with those from other featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.

OPINION: Women’s Sport Trust’s £1bn – Where Will It Come From?

The Women’s Sport Trust have recently repeated their claim that “revenue generated by women’s sport in the UK is set to grow [from £350m] to £1bn a year by 2030” via “ticket, broadcast rights and sponsorship sales”.

Women’s sport is undoubtedly an investment opportunity, but we also need to be realistic, and it is difficult to see where £1bn a year is actually going to come from.

The (Men’s Football) Premier League – the most valuable domestic sports competition in the world outside the United States – has revenues of about £5bn per year.

Barclays’ title sponsorship of the Premier League brings in just £13m per season, and total match-day income is of the order of £500m; so tickets and sponsorship sales won’t get us far towards that £1bn figure, even if we can match the Premier League.

Almost all of the Premier League’s £5bn comes from TV, and realistically that’s the only place where most of our £1bn is coming from too.

But where exactly?

The BBC is under enormous budget pressure; while BT Sport’s investors are rumoured to be getting antsy – so those avenues look closed, at least in terms of getting us anywhere near £1bn.

A “new player” is possible, but Netflix are only interested in subscriber acquisition; while Amazon Prime seem to be mainly focused on a long game of destroying the competition. You can imagine Amazon Prime buying men’s cricket, for example, to damage Sky, but it is difficult to imagine them forking out a lot of cash for “women’s-only” deals.

This leaves the aforementioned Sky. Could they squeeze an extra tenner a month out of all their Sky Sports subscribers to get us to £1bn by 2030? Maybe, but Sky are a pretty tightly run ship, and I think we can be fairly confident they know where their sweet spot is – if there was £650m to be found there, it’s a pretty safe bet they’d have already found it, so any increase in subscription prices would almost certainly be accompanied by a drop in the number of subscribers, with no increase in revenue.

It would be fascinating to know in more detail exactly how the Women’s Sport Trust arrived at the £1bn figure. It is a number that has obviously generated headlines and plenty of discussion on social media about how we might spend this windfall, but we need to be realistic.

Women’s sport is going places – it is an opportunity for growth and the success of The Hundred has shown that it is business worth investing in.

But the focus right now needs to be on the core product – the quality of the sport. Ultimately, if we get the product right, the revenue will take care of itself; and while it might not be £1bn a year, it will be real and sustainable.

So let’s stop chasing rainbows; and start chasing balls instead.

THE HUNDRED: Ireland’s Gaby Lewis Replaces Smriti Mandhana For Brave

Ireland opener Gaby Lewis looks set to become the first Irish women to play in The Hundred, as she replaces Smriti Mandhana in the Southern Brave squad for the Brave’s last group match against Oval Invincibles and the final, for which the Brave have already qualified.

Smriti Mandhana will fly home from the UK in order to see her family before India’s tour of Australia; while her Indian teammate Harmanpreet Kaur will also fly home immediately, having sustained an injury to her quad. Manchester Originals have opted not to replace Harmanpreet.

Smriti has been an important, but not critical, part of the Brave’s success in qualifying directly for the final with one round of group matches still to come, having scored 167 runs at an average of 128, making her Brave’s third highest run-scorer after Danni Wyatt (188) and Sophia Dunkley (186).

Her replacement, 20-year-old Gaby Lewis – whose sister, father and grandfather all played for Ireland – is an opening batter with 62 caps, and a highest international score of 71, scored against the Netherlands in 2019.


THE HUNDRED: Brave Surge As It’s All Over For Fire

Sasha Putt reports from the Ageas Bowl

A sunny day at the Ageas Bowl saw a determined Southern Brave side easily overcome the Welsh Fire, in a game which sees the hosts through to the final and Fire out of contention as they failed to chase down 167 off their 100 balls.

Batting first, the Brave started on the front foot, Danni Wyatt and Smriti Mandhana taking advantage of plenty of bad balls and a lucky reprieve off a no ball to score quickly, early. Wyatt reached 50 off 29 and the Brave made 100 off 62.

Wyatt’s departure for 53 did little to stem the flow of runs, as Mandhana brought up her half-century a few balls later. Full tosses, leg-side deliveries and errors in the field meant she and Sophia Dunkley brought up 150 for the Brave off 91.

A couple of late wickets and two wickets in two balls for Hayley Matthews came too late to help the Fire, who saw the Brave put up 166, the highest score the women’s competition has seen so far.

With a mammoth total before them the Fire were under pressure from the get-go, and excellent bowling from Lauren Bell, Anya Shrubsole, Amanda Jade-Wellington and co kept the Cardiff side to almost a run a ball for their first 40.

Bryony Smith, Georgia Redmayne and Sophie Luff all made it into the 30s, but kept managing to find fielders in the deep to restrict themselves to singles.

The run-per-ball requirement kept growing and growing, and soon the Fire found themselves chasing an unassailable total.

The result confirms what was predicted before the tournament – firstly that the Brave were by far tournament favourites, boasting a plethora of international talent in both the bowling and batting department. It also showed the Fire did not have the required star-power to wrest control of the game, especially in the bowling department.

This was most prevalent when the Fire found themselves unable to restrict or dismiss Mandhana or Wyatt, who swept spinners comfortably and punished bowlers who were off their length.

Following the game, Hero of the Match Mandhana found plenty of praise for all of the Brave’s attack: “The bowlers deserve to celebrate a lot – we’ve won a lot of matches because of them.”

Both teams now welcome a London side for their final game, with the Oval Invincibles travelling to Southampton and Cardiff welcoming the London Spirit. The Brave will look to keep their strong form going, whilst the Fire face a potential dead-rubber if the Spirit lose their next game.