The inaugural edition of The Hundred - Women's Competition will begin on Wednesday (July 21) with Oval Invincibles taking on Manchester Originals at the Oval. The month-long tournament will see eight teams compete in the league phase before the top three placed sides advance into the knockouts, with the final scheduled on August 21.
Who are the overseas players in the competition? Who are the coaches? Which team has been the hardest hit by the withdrawals? Ahead of ECB's newest competition, Women's CricZone gives you a quick run through of all these details and more for each of the participating teams.
England internationals: Amy Jones, Georgia Elwiss,
Overseas signings: Erin Burns, Katie Mack, Shafali Verma
Withdrawals: Ellyse Perry, Sophie Devine, Ashleigh Gardner
Coach: Ben Sawyer
Players with a domestic retainer contracts: Emily Arlott, Gwenan Davies, Evelyn Jones, Marie Kelly, Issy Wong.
Uncapped player to watch: Isabelle Wong
A-19-year old fast bowler, Isabelle Wong has shown what she can do with a ball in hand throughout England’s domestic season for the last three years. She was one of the youngest players to represent Southern Vipers in the 2019 edition of the Women's Cricket Super League (WCSL). She is currently the highest wicket-taker for Central Sparks in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint (RHF) Trophy, with nine wickets with an average of 16.44. Her five-for against Northern Diamonds and supporting act against Southern Vipers emphasised her importance to the side. Still very young, Wong has already shown the propensity to hit the 70 mph mark, and she aims to become the first woman to clock the 80 mph mark. If she continues on her upward trajectory, one wouldn't be wrong to think that Wong could be the leader of England's pace attack in the years to come.
Women’s CricZone predictions: Birmingham Phoenix lost one of the best allrounders in the world with Ellyse Perry’s withdrawal, but they still have one of the most balanced squads in the competition. Their England internationals, Amy Jones and Georgia Elwiss, have plenty of experience with Jones showing her class in the recent T20I series against India. Then, they have Shafali Verma, who at the age of 17, is already one of the most prolific hitters in the world. She can change any game within a few balls, and her fearless attitude is a bonus for the team in this newest format. With the addition of Australian allrounder Erin Burns, Birmingham have gained one of the best fielders in the world who can bat at any position and bowl her off-spin if required. Phoebe Franklin and Eve Jones are promising top-order batters who can help Verma set the tone for the innings. Additionally, the bowling unit has some excellent local talent with the likes of Emily Arlott, Wong and Kirstie Gordon having proven ability through the domestic season.
However, it is possible that the lack of an experienced international bowler might hurt their chances in the long run. Add to that, Amy Jones' limited experiences as captain could put her under additional pressure. If they are to succeed in this format, Birmingham Phoenix will have to balance their playing XI and find a way to properly utilise all the resources at their disposal.
England internationals: Heather Knight, Tammy Beaumont, Freya Davies
Overseas signings: Deandra Dottin, Deepti Sharma, Chloe Tryon
Withdrawals: Hannah Jones
Coach: Trevor Griffin
Players with a domestic retainer contracts: Amara Carr, Naomi Dattani, Aylish Cranstone, Danielle Gibson
Uncapped player to watch: Charlie Dean
A batting allrounder, 21-year-old Charlie Dean is not one of the players with a domestic retainer but she was one of the key members in the Southern Vipers squad when they won the inaugural RHF Trophy in 2020. She scored 180 runs at an average of 45.00 and also took nine wickets at an average of 29.88 during the 50-over competition last year. In the ongoing season of the RHF Trophy, she is at the top of the bowling charts with ten scalps to her name at a frugal average of 13.80. The off-spinner has been performing admirably in the Charlotte Edwards (CE) Cup as well having picked up her career-best T20 figures of 5 for 19 – the only five-wicket haul in the competition so far - against Central Sparks in Birmingham.
Considering her allround ability, she would be a handy option for London Spirit to have in the competition.
Women’s CricZone predictions: London Spirit have a curious mix of players in their squad. They have two of England's key batters in their line up in skipper Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont, and the promising Freya Davies as the leader of the bowling attack. Both Knight and Davies had a taste of success with Western Storm in the now-defunct WCSL. Their overseas trio has stayed the same despite all the withdrawals, and in Deandra Dottin, Deepti Sharma and Chloe Tryon, they have three of the elite allrounders in the world in their side. While Dottin and Sharma didn’t set the world on fire with their bat in their recent outings, Dottin had some success during the England tour last year and Sharma played a key role in Storm’s WCSL triumph in its last edition. Tryon is coming back from a long injury layoff and it remains to be seen how Spirit will fit these players to form a balanced batting order.
One of the key elements missing from the Spirit squad is the lack of big names in the fast-bowling department to support Davies and that could haunt them in the tournament even though they possess a strong spin contingent with the off-spin of Dean and Sharma expected to play key roles. Knight will have a tough task in hand if she wants Spirit to repeat the heroics of Storm in this new format.
England internationals: Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone
Overseas signings: Lizelle Lee, Mignon du Preez, Harmanpreet Kaur
Coach: Paul Shaw
Players with domestic retainer contracts: Georgie Boyce, Cordelia Griffith, Alex Hartley, Hannah Jones, Emma Lamb, Ellie Threlkeld
Uncapped player to watch: Emma Lamb
With over 400 runs and 10 wickets in the English domestic competitions so far, Emma Lamb has firmly established herself as one of the country's most exciting young talents in the circuit at the moment. Fresh off a maiden T20 century against Sunrisers, Lamb will begin The Hundred with plenty of confidence and form under her belt. Her aggressive style of play at the top of the order will hold her in good stead in a format that requires the batters to be in top gear from almost the very beginning, while her ability to both keep the runs to a minimum and pick up wickets will give Manchester Originals plenty of options with the ball.
Lamb's recent form has meant she has continued to knock on the door of the England team. Another good outing in this tournament could mean she forces that door wide open.
Women’s CricZone’s predictions: While not the strongest squad on paper, Manchester Originals have quite a lot going for them. For starters, they were one of the few teams not to be touched by the flurry of last minute withdrawals. Their original trio of overseas players - Lizelle Lee, Harmanpreet Kaur and Mignon du Preez - will take part in the competition, and although the South African pair are coming off a long layoff, and Kaur is still trying to find some form, their experience will hold them in good stead. Additionally, the English players in the side have shown good form in the domestic competitions. Most notably, Lamb is in great touch with the bat, while all of Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley and Hannah Jones have shown promise with the ball.
It may be hard to think of the Originals as title contenders, but one would think that form - and an unpredictable format - suggests they could be the competition's dark horse.
England internationals: Lauren Winfield-Hill
Overseas signings: Jemimah Rodrigues, Laura Kimmince, Laura Wolvaardt
Withdrawals: Alyssa Healy and Nicola Carey
Coach: Danielle Hazell
Players with a domestic retainer: Hollie Armitage, Beth Langston, Linsey Smith, Phoebe Graham, Alice Davidson-Richards
Uncapped player to watch: Laura Kimmince
At 30, Laura Kimmince is no spring chicken. But if her last couple of Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) seasons are anything to go by, she could be one of the stars of The Hundred. In WBBL06, Kimmince slammed 177 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 205.81 - by far the highest in the competition. She bludgeoned 12 sixes - third-most in the season - and 19 fours across her 11 innings. The right-hander's contributions saw Brisbane Heat make their way into the final four, almost getting them over the line in the semi-final against Sydney Thunder as well. Additionally, Kimmince's WBBL career strike rate of 144.81 is the highest in the history of the league, well ahead of some of the more established names of Alyssa Healy and Sophie Devine.
Roped in as a last-minute replacement alongside Laura Wolvaardt after the pair of Healy and Nicola Carey pulled out, Kimmince's ability to find the rope from the very start could give the Superchargers an edge in the competition. Her brute power and unorthodox strokeplay will likely make life difficult for bowlers and captains alike.
Women’s CricZone predictions: Northern Superchargers have put together a rather experienced squad for the inaugural season of The Hundred. As many as 10 members in the squad were part of the Northern Diamonds side that reached the final of the RHF Trophy in 2020. With head coach Danielle Hazell there is an additional sense of familiarity in the group, giving them a great starting point this season.
The Superchargers' overseas trio includes some of the most exciting and dynamic batters in the world. They will be a great foil to the likes of Winfield-Hill, Sterre Kalis and Alice Davidson-Richards, all of whom have shown terrific form in the domestic tournaments. The bowling group led by Beth Langston, Linsey Smith and leg-spinner Katie Levick looks balanced, but also may lack some firepower with no overseas or (current) international bowler to fall back on. It will be an area opposition teams look to target. However, if the Superchargers plan and execute well with the ball, their batting may allow them to overpower other sides.
England internationals: Fran Wilson, Mady Villiers
Overseas signings: Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail
Withdrawals: Rachael Haynes
Coach: Jonathan Batty
Players with domestic retainer contracts: Georgia Adams, Natasha Farrant, Jo Gardner
Uncapped player to watch: Alice Capsey
Two matches are enough to realise why Alice Capsey is one of the young guns to watch out for in the inaugural The Hundred. In South East Stars’ penultimate match of the RHF Trophy last season, they were chasing 199 for a win. They were two down for 65 when Capsey walked in at No.4. The right-hand batter showed her mettle and finished unbeaten with 73 off 75 balls and was involved in a 114-run third-wicket stand, helping Stars across the line.
The second game is Stars’ clash against Central Sparks in this year’s CE Cup. Capsey showed her worth with the ball as her right-arm seam fetched three wickets for just 13 runs in three overs to help Stars bowl Sparks out for 117. In the CE Cup so far, her economy rate is just 4.75 - the best among Stars’ bowlers. Moreover, another number that we have not mentioned till now is this: Capsey is not even 17!
Women’s CricZone predictions: For Invincibles to do well, the international players in Sarah Bryce, Fran Wilson, Mady Villiers, Natasha Farrant combined with the overseas stars in Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp and Shabnim Ismail along with Georgia Adams will have to step up. Adams is continuing her good form from the last season and has also hit a fifty in the CE Cup. The withdrawal of Rachael Haynes shouldn't affect Invincibles much as they have a reliable batting unit.
The performances of the likes of Grace Gibbs, Danielle Gregory and the young Capsey could, perhaps, decide the direction of the team in the tournament. But on paper, Invincibles seems to be a mid-table finishing side. They would have done really well if they finish the group stage in the top four.
England internationals: Sophia Dunkley, Anya Shrubsole, Danielle Wyatt
Overseas signings: Smriti Mandhana, Stafanie Taylor, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Withdrawals: Amelia Kerr
Coach: Charlotte Edwards
Players with domestic retainer contracts: Fi Morris, Tara Norris, Maia Bouchier
Uncapped player to watch: Charlotte Taylor
The 27-year-old’s rise has been one of intrigue. Charlotte Taylor was not part of the initial squad Southern Vipers named for the inaugural RHF Trophy in 2020. But she played a huge role in Vipers’ title win against Northern Diamonds, returning six wickets for 34 runs. Taylor began the 2021 season from where she left off, taking nine wickets in the first half of the RHF Trophy – joint second-most – added to five scalps in the T20 competition, the CE Cup, which is second-most for Vipers this season.
T20s were expected to sound the death knell to spinners and it will be interesting to see how Taylor goes about in the shortest version of the sport for Southern Brave. She will have the opportunity to learn from the other Taylor, Stafanie, and further improve her craft going forward as well.
Women’s CricZone predictions: Western Storm won two WCSL seasons out of the four that were played. Vipers made the finals on three out of four occasions. Most of those players are part of this Southern Brave setup. Smriti Mandhana, Danielle Wyatt, Stafanie, Anya Shrubsole all have been there, and done that. At the outset, given the variety and strength in the side, anything less than a finals appearance would be disappointing for Brave. But there are quite a few sub-plots to this side.
For starters, the opening combination for Brave would be one that teams will be wary of, with Mandhana possibly partnering Wyatt at the top. With only a hundred balls to play with, Stafanie and Sophia Dunkley could feature in the top four and that could well be trouble for opposition bowlers if they get going. One area of concern that Brave could have is the absence of an international seamer to support Shrubsole; so they will be hoping for young Lauren Bell to build on her promise.
England internationals: Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Sarah Glenn
Overseas signings: Heather Graham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Rachel Priest
Withdrawals: Sophie Molineux, Elyse Villani, Annabel Sutherland
Coach: Salliann Beams
Players with a domestic retainer: Kathryn Bryce, Abbey Freeborn, Lucy Higham
Uncapped player to watch: Sammy-Jo Johnson
Sammy-Jo Johnson is one of only two players to win the WBBL three times. She has been among the top 10 wicket-takers in those three seasons. She has developed her hitting abilities over the years to become one of the most valued domestic players in the world. In WBBL06, even with the likes of Shabnim Ismail and Hannah Darlington in the mix, she was the highest wicket-taker for Sydney Thunder - a tally that included a superb spell of 2 for 11 against mighty Melbourne Stars in the final.
Although she hasn't yet had a taste of international cricket, Johnson knows what it takes to win championships, and that experience could be very valuable to the Rockets, who need someone other than their England stars to calm the nerves of what is a relatively inexperienced team.
Women’s CricZone predictions: Trent Rockets have managed to put together a squad with a good mix of experience and youth, even after the withdrawal of the Australian trio of Sophie Molineux, Elyse Villani and Annabel Sutherland. Natalie Sciver, who has been in sublime form with bat and ball in all three formats against India, will lead the side, while the ever-reliable Katherine Brunt has the responsibility of the bowling attack. With the signing of T20 specialist Rachel Priest, consistent Sammy-Jo Johnson and allrounder Heather Graham, they have added depth and flexibility to what appears to be a slightly undercooked side. One of the most important players will be ICC Associate Cricketer of the Decade, Kathryn Bryce. She hasn’t performed well in the recent matches but has the calibre to change games with her allround skills.
On paper, Rockets look heavily dependent on their English internationals and overseas players. If they are to make a run for the title, their domestic players will have to stand up at some stage during the competition.
England internationals: Katie George
Overseas signings: Georgia Redmayne, Piepa Cleary, Hayley Matthews
Withdrawals: Meg Lanning, Suné Luus, Georgia Wareham, Beth Mooney, Jess Jonassen
Coach: Mark O'Leary
Players with domestic retainer contracts: Bethan Ellis, Alex Griffiths, Georgia Hennessy, Sophie Luff, Bryony Smith, Natasha Wraith
Domestic player to watch: Sophie Luff
Sophie Luff’s numbers suggest she has been unlucky to have not played for England yet. At 27, it appears difficult for Luff to break into what is a very strong England middle order right now, but she will be keen to continue making a good case for herself. Luff played a key role in Western Storm’s triumph in the final edition of the WCSL bringing all her experience to the fore in the middle order. She had a bumper season during the inaugural RHF Trophy where she scored 339 runs at an average 67.80 to finish as the third leading run-getter in the tournament. She will also bring her leadership qualities into the mix in a side lacking big names.
Having not been able to repeat her heroics of last season in both RHF Trophy and CE Cup, Luff will be keen to get back amongst big runs.
Women’s CricZone predictions: When the competition was announced, Cardiff based Welsh Fire managed to lure two of the biggest names in Meg Lanning and Beth Mooney into their side. However, the travel complications posed by COVID-19 saw them withdrawing from the tournament along with Georgia Wareham, and later,South Africa’s Suné Luus had to pull out at the last minute because she tested positive for the virus. All of this left them with an overseas contingent lacking star power with Hayley Matthews being the biggest name among them. Matthews seems to have turned a corner during the recent Pakistan series after going through a lean patch and will have to play a key role for the side.
Welsh Fire also lack big names with Katie George being the only current England international in the side. The inclusion of Sarah Taylor, one of cricket’s most celebrated stumpers, will give them a boost not just in the 'keeping department, but with the bat as well. Georgia Redmayne, although not a big name, was one of the stars of WBBL06 and is an interesting pick in a side that already has Taylor. They will rely on Bryony Smith, who played for England in the past, to give them fast starts in the powerplay along with Redmayne.
It’s difficult to see Welsh Fire making a dash for the title but other sides will have to be wary of the individual brilliance of some of these players who can single-handedly take down oppositions on their day. They could even be party-poopers if it comes down to that in the business end of the competition.