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Southern Brave And Birmingham Phoenix Could Suffer From Not Having Eliminator In The Hundred

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Southern Brave And Birmingham Phoenix Could Suffer From Not Having Eliminator In The Hundred

The Hundred reaches the conclusion of its first season this weekend and we sat down with BBC Sport pundit Isa Guha to discuss the finals days.

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For many the Hundred has been a huge success as fans have enjoyed watching the brand new format live in the grounds and on television, with many games live on BBC.

With the group stages done, the eliminators take place on Friday night, between second and third place at the Oval, with the winners going on to face the team who topped the group stage at Lords on Saturday.

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In the women's tournament, Southern Brave have completely bossed things, winning seven of their eight games, and qualifying to go straight to the final with games to spare. Despite that domination, Guha does think not having a game since Monday could affect the side who play at the Ageas Bowl.

"When we had the Kia Super League," the World Cup winner explained about the Women's T20 tournament, "For 3 years, whoever went straight through to the final would always struggle, because they hadn't had that match practice preparation ahead of the final match.

"Sometimes it is in favour of the team who goes through the eliminator because they have the chance to warm themselves up for the final act."

Southern Brave have been extremely impressive. Image: PA Image
Southern Brave have been extremely impressive. Image: PA Image
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Whilst that's good news for the Oval Invincibles and the Birmingham Phoenix, who have the chance to take on the Brave, Guha is also aware of what got the Southampton based team to Lords.

"The reason the Brave have done well is because they have Charlotte Edwards looking after that team. She's very calculated in terms of her picks," the pundit added.

"They have tremendous depth, variety in their bowling attack, some quality batting at the top and I think that's really worked for them."

On the men's side the Brave have made it to the eliminator, where they'll face Trent Rockets for the chance to face the Phoenix, and Guha thinks they could join their female counterparts at Lords.

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"They've really peaked at the right time. I know they lost their first two games and they've won nearly every game since.

"I think that has a lot to do with it, finding your formula, players finding their touch."

Southern Brave men's form could take them into the final too. Image: PA Images
Southern Brave men's form could take them into the final too. Image: PA Images

The whole tournament has been a success on the pitch and it's the women's game that has benefited the most, with the high attendances and viewing figures being a real boost.

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"Just from what we've seen, the crowds for the women's game," Guha said, "To have the audience we did on day one, a record breaking audience for a women's match, as well as the crowd, that's continued right throughout the tournament.

"The girls are loving being able to play in it and the fact we're trying to create this gender neutral environment, whereby the men's and women's team are playing under the same brand, I think is fantastic for the game.

"It kind of happened by chance, because of the pandemic, because originally the women's games were going to be played in the outgrounds.

"To be able to have them playing on the same day has actually been a huge success, accidentally.

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"We saw it internationally with the T20 World Cup, the women played the semi finals on the same day as the men and then the final.

Fans have been great at the Hundred. Image: PA Images
Fans have been great at the Hundred. Image: PA Images

"So they were getting that visibility and people being able to tune in from around the world and I think that's what's so fantastic about this, that people are potentially wanting to watch the men's game, come early for the women's game.

"What we've seen, after that first match, people have cottoned on to the fact the women can really play and so you've had more than 50% capacity for the women's matches, plenty of families coming down to enjoy their afternoon and then as it builds up into the evening more people are coming in and creating a different kind of atmosphere so it's been a massive success."

Finally on the impact of the tournament, the former England player said, "I'm just trying to encourage people who haven't watched cricket before to come along and take a peak.

"Just from the feedback from people I know who have, in the past, turned their nose up at cricket or potentially not wanted to learn more about it, I know a lot of people who are coming to the game for the first time and really enjoying it. That's just wonderful to see, that's where you know it's having an impact."

Watch the finals of The Hundred on BBC Two, radio and online on 21 August.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Cricket

Ryan Sidle
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