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Feature

Men's Hundred tactics board: Par scores, home advantage and 10-ball sets

We break down some of the lessons learned from the first season of 100-ball cricket

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
01-Aug-2022
Liam Livingstone walks back after being dismissed, Birmingham Phoenix vs Southern Brave, Men's Hundred final, Lord's, August 21, 2021

Liam Livingstone was named the men's Hundred MVP in 2021 - but finished on the losing side in the final  •  Getty Images

The Hundred returns for its second edition on Wednesday, with defending champions Southern Brave playing Welsh Fire in the first men's match of the 2022 season - the women's competition does not start until August 11, due to the Commonwealth Games. The 100-ball format is still in its infancy, but teams can learn plenty from the first season. Here are ESPNcricinfo's key tactical insights into the men's tournament.

What is a good score?

The average first-innings score in full-length games in the first season of the men's Hundred was 145 for 6, but rarely proved enough runs to defend. There was a heavy chasing bias - 19 out of 30 games were won by teams batting second - and the average winning first-innings total was 161 for 5.
Scores ranged from Birmingham Phoenix's 87 all out against Manchester Originals at Emirates Old Trafford to Northern Superchargers' 200 for 5 against the same opposition at Headingley. Only five out of 62 completed innings ended with a side being bowled out.
With each innings lasting 100 balls rather than the usual 120, scoring rates were slightly higher in the Hundred than across the last three T20 Blast seasons, (1.47 runs per ball in the Hundred, compared to 1.42 in the Blast). Batting averages were slightly lower as batters placed slightly less value on their wickets than usual (23.46 in the Hundred compared to 24.68 in the Blast).

Regional variation

There was a significant difference between scoring rates at each venue: games at Edgbaston saw teams score at 15.6 runs per 10 balls, compared to 12.5 runs per 10 balls at Old Trafford (though the sample size was small in Manchester, where two games were no-results due to rain).
Three teams - Southern Brave, Oval Invincibles and Birmingham Phoenix - won all four of their home games, while London Spirit were the only team to go winless at their home ground. Sixty-nine percent of games finished in home wins, compared to 56.1% over the last two T20 Blast seasons - suggesting that recruiting for a single format, rather than all three, allowed teams to better exploit their own conditions.

Batters win games, bowlers win tournaments?

Phoenix, who topped the group stage, were the best batting team in the competition, both in terms of average and strike rate. They were helped in part by the fact they played their home games on excellent batting pitches but also had the competition's form player in Liam Livingstone, who finished the season as the tournament's leading run-scorer.
Brave, the champions, were only fifth-fastest-scoring team with the bat but their bowling attack was the most miserly in the competition in terms of economy rate. They were not prolific wicket-takers across the season - their collective bowling average was the second-worst - but took 15 in their two knockout games and were excellent at the death.
Superchargers were the second-best team in terms of economy rate, bowling average and batting strike rate, and third-best in terms of batting average, yet failed to qualify for the knockout stages.

Five balls or ten?

The ability for one bowler to bowl consecutive 'sets' of five balls is perhaps the most obvious difference between the 100-ball and T20 formats. Captains took up the opportunity to leave the same bowler on around 10% of the time, with spinners bowling 69% of 10-ball sets in the competition.
Captains tended to leave bowlers on after a strong first set of five balls, meaning that the economy rate for the second set of five was significantly higher - though still lower than the overall economy rate for the competition - suggesting batters managed to line bowlers up. Most bowlers were kept on at the same end, though around one-sixth of 10-ball sets were delivered with an end change in the middle.
Spirit used the 10-ball option more than any other team, with Mason Crane and Mohammad Nabi bowling seven 10-ball sets each. Jake Lintott, Brave's left-arm wristspinner, was the most-used 10-ball bowler in the competition.
As the competition wore on, batters attacked the second half of a 10-ball set more often. In the first 17 matches of the season, the second half of a 10-ball set cost 7.7 runs per over and bowlers took a wicket every 23.5 balls; in the second half of the season, those figures were 9.4 an over and a wicket every 16.1 balls respectively.

Crossing law change rewards bowling teams

Another key rule change from the Hundred has now been brought into English domestic cricket and several T20 leagues including the IPL, and will become universal when the MCC update the laws of the game in October: the new batter is always on strike after a catch, regardless of whether the batters crossed.
The data suggests the change has rewarded bowling teams for taking wickets, as was anticipated. Across the last three seasons in the T20 Blast, batters' strike rate the ball after a wicket fell when the new batter was on strike was 71.7, compared to 117.2 when the 'in' batter faced; in the Hundred, batters scored at a strike rate of 82.2 the ball after a wicket fell.
With stats inputs by Shiva Jayaraman

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98