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Women’s cricket Hundred opener sets record viewing figures for women’s cricket

THE OPENING night of The Hundred was the most watched women’s cricket match in British history, with a peak audience of 1.95 million.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB’s) new 100-ball franchise tournament launched with an entertaining clash that saw Oval Invincibles beat Manchester Originals in the women’s competition on Wednesday night, a game that was broadcast simultaneously by BBC and Sky Sports.

The peak time BBC Two show drew in a high of 1.6 million viewers, with a further 180,000 live streams on iPlayer and BBC Sport online. Sky, which screened the fixture on its marquee "Main Event" channel as well as its Mix option and for free on YouTube, contributed the remainder.

An ECB statement said 3.8 million people were engaged for a minimum of three minutes, with 35 per cent of all viewers said to be female — a key part of the competition’s inclusivity pitch.

Sanjay Patel, managing director of The Hundred, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to The Hundred – a thrilling match which went down to the wire, a brilliant atmosphere inside the crowd with lots of families and children, and record figures watching at home.

“The Hundred is all about throwing cricket’s doors open for everyone, and the response to last night’s game has been remarkable. We know this is only the first game and there is a still a lot of hard work ahead.

"We’re grateful to Sky for their long-term support for English cricket and especially The Hundred and are excited by the partnership with them and the BBC helping us to reach a broader audience.”

The ECB data suggests the launch day was also the busiest yet for new ticket sales, with more than 11,000 purchased across the 24-hour period.

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