Tension built as the man in green holding the ball ran towards the man in black holding the long wooden stick. With a serious expression on his face, the man in green jumped in the air and threw the ball at the man with the stick, standing in front of three thinner sticks, and another man in green carrying de funny big gloves. The man with the stick tried to hit the ball, but it was a well-directed Yorkie on the fifth stump that he could only dig for a long time, and…
Oh no. I have done it again. This is the problem, you see, when trying to explain cricket to the uninitiated: as much as you try to simplify it, purge it of its quirks and verbiage, cricket finds always a way to come back. there were plenty of moments like this on the second night of The Hundred, as the men took to the stage joyfully baptized by women Wednesday evening.
Take the moment near the end of the Oval Invincibles' innings when Saqib Mahmood glanced at his slender leg and refused just one of the last ball before aside change. "Mom, why hasn't the man run?" Or when Sunil Narine, distracted by Colin Munro's constant blows, deliberately shot the ball two meters from the side of the leg. "Daddy, why did the man throw him there?" Or the moment when Carlos Brathwaite muscled the ball to the limit of the midwicket. "Mom, why are the Invincibles launching into the field with a wicket in the middle of the circle when everyone knows Brathwaite is dominant and likes to sit in the back of his crease? " Kids these days . So many questions.
You know what? Despite all the flippancy and well-deserved snark, it was actually a lot of fun. The Curran brothers bowled beautifully, Sam Billings posted live on prime-time BBC TV and in front of a cheering crowd of 18,000, the Invincibles rightly triumphed over Manchester Originals by nine points.On the evidence of those two nights, surely even the most cynical of us should conclude that, for all the ills of the Hundred, this is certainly not boring.
And really, the intriguing part of it all wasn't how fresh and new it all looked, but how familiar it was. Cricket with fireworks and pop music, cricket with fun new gadgets, cricket with exceptional limits and breathtaking reverse strikes , cricket with brand new teams coming together on a whim, cricket played on a beautiful green pasture under a golden evening sun: for anyone with even the simplest basis in the sport (that is, say not the target market), none of this would have been disturbing. "dcr-1b5a2hj"> The big oneThe Hundred's lie - a lie deployed not only to woo a new audience but to upset the old one - is that it is a daring act of visionary disruption, a clean break with the past. On the contrary, it's the exact same sandwich with the exact same filling: only wrapped in fancy-colored plastic, given a new name and marketed to those with gluten intolerance.
The question of whether true agnostics have been converted is a question that will only be answered over time. Certainly not on the basis of the clientele parading through the turnstiles here: in tone, demographics, and beverage choice, it was essentially indistinguishable from a crowd of Twenty20s after work from Surrey. They arrived in their Charles Tyrwhitt shirts, lined up for their pints, and sang Don 't Take Me Home aloud. And fair play atthem, by the way. Cricket, even in this brave new landscape, is not so flush that it can afford to turn its nose to any audience: loyal, thirsty audience with disposable income to burn.
Nevertheless, the first leg of the trip was negotiated without a hitch. Oval's 145 for 8, bolstered by an early flurry from Jason Roy, late thrash from Tom Curran and butcher from Billings in the middle, felt a little light. But apparently the ECB had commissioned focus group research during the interval which concluded that 145 is in fact impressive, perhaps even one of the highest totals on record, and it turned out to be recognized. On a used pitch, with a fine and varied attack, Manchester struggled against the new ball and despite the best efforts of Munro and Brathwaite never quite caught up with the pace.
It was very important to knowwho was winning, until they didn't. The scoreboard rarely bothered to show the score, instead alternating between a selection of garish graphics, candid crowd shots, and the occasional clip of a serious-looking woman playing Dua Lipa records. The crowd cheered at vaguely appropriate times, cheered the off-field teams, and returned home fully sated, perhaps even asking for more. Say, 20 extra balls for each team. Someone should make this up. It would sell.