Sam Billings leads Oval Invincibles to opening win over Manchester Originals | hundreds

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Sam Billings leads Oval Invincibles to opening win over Manchester Originals | hundreds

The tension increased when the man in green with the ball ran towards the man in black with the long wooden stick. With a serious look on his face, the man in green jumped into the air and threw the ball at the man with the stick, standing in front of three thin sticks, and another man in green wearing funny big gloves. The guy with the stick tried to hit the ball, but he was well directed in the fifth stem and could only dig for so long, and …

Oh no. I did it again. Here’s the problem, you see, with trying to explain cricket to beginners: as much as you try to simplify it, to clear it of quirks and talk, somehow cricket always finds a way to sneak in again. And when you think about it, there were a lot of moments like this on the second night of The Hundred, where the guys took to the stage She was gleefully baptized by women Wednesday night.

Take the moment near the end of Oval Invincibles innings when Saqib Mahmood looked at a thin leg and rejected one last ball before switching sides. “Mummy, why didn’t the man run?” Or when Sunil Naren, distracted by Colin Monroe’s sustained beating, deliberately shot the ball two yards from the side of the leg. “Dad, why was the man throwing it there?” Or the time Carlos Brathwaite hit the ball into the midfield. “Mummy, why can’t he beat the bowling alley with the middle of the wicket in the circle when everyone knows Brathwaite is dominant at the bottom of the hand and likes to sit deep in his crease?” kids these days. So many questions.

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you know what? Despite all the tones it deserves, it was really fun. Watching the Curran brothers bowl beautifully, Sam Billings’ attack live on prime-time BBC television and in front of a raucous crowd of 18,000, the Invincibles deservedly beat the Manchester Originals by nine runs. Based on the evidence for these two nights, even the most pessimistic among us will surely have to conclude that, despite all the ailments of hundreds, it is certainly not boring.

And indeed, the interesting part of all of this wasn’t how fresh and fresh it felt, but how familiar it was. cricket With fireworks and pop, cricket with new funny tricks, cricket with distinct limits and amazing backhand, cricket with new teams assembled at whim, cricket on a wonderful green pasture under the golden evening sun: for anyone with even the coolest Grounded in sports (ie not my target market), none of this was remotely concerning.

There were 18,000 supporters gathered in the Oval Thursday night.
There were 18,000 supporters gathered in the Oval Thursday night. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters

The great lie of The Hundred – a lie that was deployed not just to attract a new audience but to antagonize the old one – is that it is a daring act of visual obfuscation, a clear break with the past. On the contrary, it is exactly the same sandwich with the same filling: it is only packaged in fancy colored plastic, given a new name and marketed in case of gluten intolerance.

Whether any true atheist was actually converted is a question that will only be answered in time. Certainly not on the basis of introducing customers through the gates here: In terms of tone, demographic and drink selection, it was essentially indistinguishable from the Twenty20 crowd after working in Surrey. They showed up in their Charles Tyrwhitt T-shirts, queued for their pints and strapped ‘Don’t Take Me Home’ belts with loud male voices. And by the way, fair play them. Cricket, even in this gritty new spectacle, is not so flowy that it can piss off any audience: not to mention a loyal, thirsty audience with spendable income.

However, the first phase of the voyage was negotiated without hindrance. Oval’s hair 145-for-8, buoyed by an early delight from Jason Roy, a late defeat from Tom Curran and a Billings massacre in the middle, felt a little lighter. But it is clear that the ECB has commissioned some focused collective research during the period that has concluded that 145 is indeed remarkable, perhaps even one of the greatest totals ever, and it has been proven. On used ground, with a good and varied attack, Manchester struggled against the new ball and despite the best efforts of Monroe and Brathwaite it did not keep up at that rate.

It was very important who wins, until it didn’t happen. The scoreboard rarely actually bothers to show off the score, instead circling between flashy graphics, candid crowd shots, and cross-sections of a serious-looking woman playing Dua Lipa’s recordings. The crowd cheered at mysterious opportune times, applauded the teams off the field, and came home completely groggy, perhaps wanting more. Say, 20 extra balls per team. Someone has to invent it. will sell.

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