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Excitement builds ahead of The Hundred

Excitement is building ahead of the opening fixture in a new cricket competition.

Taking place this evening, The Hundred, a new concept which sees both teams batting for 100 balls, will finally begin following a 12-month delay due to Covid-19.

The opening fixture begins with Oval Invincibles taking on Manchester Originals in the women's competition at 6pm tonight, before the same two teams open the men's competition on Thursday.

Eight city-based teams have been created - London Spirit, Oval Invincibles, Southern Brave, Welsh Fire, Birmingham Phoenix, Trent Rockets, Manchester Originals and Northern Superchargers.

And whilst a ball hasn't yet been bowled, the competition has been met with mixed reviews. Critics consider the new format almost pointless as its only 20 balls less, per innings, than the massively popular T20 format, which was created in 2003. Each team will bowl 20, five ball overs. All five balls must be delivered by the same bowler but a captain can choose to continue with the same bowler for ten consecutive balls.

After a set of five balls the umpire will hold up a white card to signal the end of each over, but players will only change ends after every 10 balls - not at the end of each over.

Competition organisers say the format has been created to usher in a new, more diverse audience, and will hopefully achieve this aim by hosting live music acts.

Locally, Mottram Cricket Club's Alice Dyson will be representing the Manchester Originals. She is a right arm quick bowler, who plays for Lancashire and North West Thunder, having previously represented Derbyshire and Lancashire Thunder in the Women’s Cricket Super League. She made her domestic debut in 2012. In the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2020, playing for Thunder, she scored 52 runs and scalped two wickets in four outings.

Quest Media Network's Katie Catherall spoke to Alice about her career in a piece a few months ago.

Tonight's game is taking place live on BBC Two at 6pm.

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