London’s two men’s franchises will start their campaigns with a derby clash at the Oval when the Hundred returns for its second edition this summer, with Lord’s once again set to stage the tournament finals.
Oval Invincibles will host Lord’s-based London Spirit on Thursday, August 4, with the 100-ball-a-side competition beginning 24 hours earlier at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl as last year’s winners Southern Brave face Welsh Fire.
The women’s tournament will not begin until a week later, on August 11, due to a clash with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where women’s T20 cricket is making its debut.
Defending champions Oval Invincibles, who launched the inaugural competition with a standalone women’s fixture last year, will once again play on opening night as they welcome Northern Superchargers to south London.
From that point onwards, matches will be played as double-headers, with men’s and women’s teams playing back-to-back at the same venue. This season’s women’s opener has been given the prime evening slot, though the remainder of the tournament will see the order reversed, with the men’s games taking place second.
The double-header format was a product of Covid-enforced changes to the ECB’s new flagship competition when it was belatedly launched last summer, but was hailed as one of the key reasons for its success in promoting the women’s game, with well over half of the 510,000 ticket holders arriving in time to watch both matches, despite many having midweek, mid-afternoon start times.
“Last year was such an exciting year for the women’s game,” said Oval Invincibles’ Alice Kapsey. “Playing in the opening match of the competition and winning the first-ever Final of The Hundred are moments that I will never forget. I still remember seeing all the fans at the Oval for the first game, there were so many young girls, it was so special.”
As a result of its delayed start, the women’s tournament group stage will see each team play on six matches compared with eight for the men as both conclude on August 31.
The teams finishing second and third in each pool will meet in the “Eliminator” - switched from the Oval to the Ageas Bowl this year - on September 2, with the winners moving on to Lord’s to face the top-ranked sides in their respective finals the following day.
Tickets will first be made available to members and fans who attended last year’s games in late February, before going on general sale on April 20.