ALEX HARTLEY: Thriller From Opening Night At The Hundred Had Me HUMMING Until 5 A.M.

ALEX HARTLEY: The opening night thriller at The Hundred had me BUZZING until 5 AM! With 1.6 million viewers live on the BBC and the Oval audience participating, it felt like a huge step forward for women’s cricket

I was so buzzing after playing the opening game of the Hundred on Wednesday night at The Oval that I was still awake at 4:30 am.

I texted my friend and Manchester Originals captain Kate Cross to ask if she was too, and she came to my room and talked until 5.15am.

We both agreed we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the competition – and we hope, for now, we’ve silenced the critics of this new tournament.

Alex Hartley bowls for the Manchester Originals in Wednesday night’s The Hundred opener

Hartley admitted he felt the nerves as millions watched, but soon settled into the match

Hartley admitted he felt the nerves as millions watched, but soon settled into the match

To put it this way: I haven’t felt any nerves since the 2017 World Cup final. We all knew how important it was for women’s cricket to get off to a good start and you could feel the tension.

Laura Jackson, one of our sailors, had never played on TV, so after she got a wicket with her first pitch, we asked her if she was feeling a little better. She said she still couldn’t feel her legs.

I knew what she meant. I felt nauseous as I prepared to bowl the first ball of the Oval Invincibles chase, and took a little deep breath to help.

The Hundred opened its doors in dramatic fashion for the first time with fireworks fire

The Hundred opened its doors in dramatic fashion for the first time with fireworks fire

The brand new cricket format provides entertainment for cricket newcomers and regulars alike

The brand new cricket format provides entertainment for cricket newcomers and regulars alike

It was just a shame that we ran into Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp, their two South African pros. That’s why you pay good money for the foreign cricketers, although we dropped too many catches.

I had played before some big crowds in India before but never such a big crowd in domestic cricket in this country. Then we learned that the BBC had a peak audience of over 1.6 million.

It felt like a huge step forward for women’s cricket, and that was reflected in my social media after the game. It has never been this busy or more positive. Now I just need to find time to sleep.

Mady Villiers (left) and Dane van Niekerk (right) drove the Oval Invincibles to victory

Mady Villiers (left) and Dane van Niekerk (right) drove the Oval Invincibles to victory

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