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Sport ALEX HARTLEY: Opening night thriller in The Hundred left me BUZZING

20:32  22 july  2021
20:32  22 july  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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I was buzzing so much after playing in the opening game of the Hundred on Wednesday night at The Oval that I was still awake at 4.30am.

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

We both agreed we could not have asked for a better start to the competition – and we hope that, for now at least, we've silenced the critics of this new tournament.

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Put it this way: I've not felt nerves like it since the 2017 World Cup final. We were all aware how important it was for women's cricket for us to get off to a good start, and you could feel the tension.

ALEX HARTLEY: We're ready to go and shut up the critics of The Hundred

  ALEX HARTLEY: We're ready to go and shut up the critics of The Hundred ALEX HARTLEY: It's been a long time coming but the big day is finally here and we are ready to go. Women's cricket will create a piece of history when we launch The Hundred on Wednesday night.There's so much hype around this and from a women's perspective we have equal billing, promotion and prize-money. That makes this a level playing field.The Hundred is clearly a huge platform for the women's game. None of us expect equal pay just yet but what this gives us is equal opportunity. Having said that I very much agree with what Kate Cross said recently that the ECB needs to support some domestic players far better.

Laura Jackson, one of our seamers, had never played on TV before, so after she got a wicket with her first ball, we asked her if she was feeling a bit better. She said she still couldn't feel her legs.

I knew what she meant. I felt sick to the stomach as I prepared to bowl the first ball of the Oval Invincibles chase, and did a bit of deep breathing to help.

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

I'd played in a front of a couple of big crowds in India before, but never one as big as this in domestic cricket in this country. Then we heard that the BBC had a peak audience of over 1.6m.

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

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