The opening game of The Hundred, the brainchild of England & Wales Cricket Board, recorded exemplary turnout both in the stands and on television sets. The attendance was stated to be around 7,400 people, the largest crowd for an English domestic women's game. Adding cherry on the cake, 1.6 million people tuned in on the BBC, making it the most-watched women's cricket match ever on the platform.
Oval Invincibles Womens gunned down Manchester Originals Womens' 135/6 to begin their campaign with a bang. Dane van Niekerk supplied a captain's knock, weaving an unbeaten 56 to power her side past the finish line. Kate Cross' three-wicket haul couldn't deter Oval Invincibles from registering a victory in the inaugural match of the sport's brand new format.
The opening game of The Hundred received a peak viewing audience of 1.6 million on the BBC, making it the most watched women's cricket match ever on the platform 🙌#TheHundred2021 pic.twitter.com/rx11uA4XdI— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 22, 2021
The Hundred's primary objective is to draw people from all walks of life to the stadium for some capsule-sized cricketing action. It looked as if the trimmed version of the game served its purpose as females and children thronged the stands, waving banners and cheering for their respective teams.
The diverse range of fans was kept in constant thrall as Lizelle Lee and Harmanpreet Kaur scored briskly to lay the foundation for Manchester Originals' first-innings total. Cross derailed Invicibles' chase with a few crucial strikes upfront, but van Niekerk took matters into her own hands and anchored the response with flawless artistry.
The pre-match fireworks, the DJ and the groovy music during the interval were all lapped up by the crowd. If the enthusiasm of the spectators was something to go by, The Hundred definitely lived up to its billing.