New cricket season fixtures: Dates for all The Hundred games, plus County Championship

The Hundred will make its debut in the 2020 domestic season
The Hundred will make its debut in the 2020 domestic season

Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, England's World Cup-winning opening partners, are set to go head to head when The Hundred gets under way at The Oval on July 17.

The England and Wales Cricket Board's domestic fixtures for 2020 have been released, with the inaugural edition of its 100-ball tournament appearing alongside the existing three formats for the first time.

The new competition, which will be partially broadcast on free-to-air by the BBC, is a central part of the governing body's bid to build the sport's fanbase but the city-based franchise model has attracted scepticism from sections of the existing support.

As such all eyes will be on the opening fixture, which pits the Oval Invincibles against Welsh Fire, with England's hard-hitting duo of Bairstow and Roy due to be front and centre.


2020 domestic season key dates

  • 24 March - MCC v Essex
  • 12 April - County Championship starts
  • 28 May - T20 Blast begins
  • 17 July - The Hundred starts
  • 19 July - One-Day Cup begins
  • 14 August - Women's Hundred final
  • 15 August - Men's Hundred final
  • 5 September - T20 Blast Finals Day
  • 19 September - One-Day Cup final
  • 22 September - final round of County Championship

The third and final one-day international against Australia takes place in Bristol 24 hours earlier and the top-order pair are among a host of big names - also including the Curran brothers, Tom Banton, Liam Plunkett and the Fire's overseas pair Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc - who could be involved in a unique double-header.

"We want to launch The Hundred with a bang and a big crowd at The Oval on a Friday night should do that for us," said an ECB spokesman.

The men's hundred wraps up with a two-match finals day on August 15, while the women's competition begins with Birmingham Phoenix against Manchester Originals at New Road on July 22 and concludes on August 14. There will be a series of double-headers featuring men's and women's matches back-to-back at the same grounds.

The Specsavers County Championship begins on April 12, a week later than last season, with the final round of games beginning a day earlier than 2019 on September 22. Champions Essex launch their defence in week two, hosting Yorkshire on April 19.

Criticisms that the first-class game has been forced into the fringes of the schedule in recent years, to the detriment of both it and the Test team, have been partly addressed with championship fixtures slated in every month of the campaign, but there will be no domestic red-ball cricket between July 8 and August 23 as The Hundred dominates that prime window.


The 2020 Specsavers County Championship

Opening Round

  • Division One: Lancashire v Kent, Somerset v Warwickshire, Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
  • Division Two: Middlesex v Worcestershire, Nottinghamshire v Leicestershire, Sussex v Durham

Twelve of the 15 championship rounds will include play at the weekend as part of a push to attract supporters to the flagship tournament.

Like The Hundred, next year's Vitality Blast starts at The Oval, where Surrey host London Rivals Middlesex on May 28, and holders Essex welcome Cardiff the following day. Finals day at Edgbaston is on September 5.

Royal London has renewed its sponsorship of the One-Day Cup, which runs alongside The Hundred and bears the burden of operating without the elite players already drafted to the eight franchises.

Managing director of county cricket Gordon Hollins previously branded the 50-over game "developmental" but insists that should not be taken as a downgrade in status.

Billing it as a chance to see up-and-coming youngsters for the first time, as well as taking in a variety of outground fixtures and warm-up clashes with the non first-class national counties, Hollins said: "It's obviously going to be different but different could well mean better. I think it will be popular with members because they'll get to see the next wave of talent coming through.

"The competition will have different characteristics and really connect with people."

Reflecting on the challenge of piecing together one of sport's most challenging administrative jigsaws, Hollins added: "The great opportunity cricket has, that any other sport would give its left arm for, is different formats that appeal to different people.

"It's always a challenge to satisfy every type of supporter and what they want out of the schedule, but it's a nice problem to have.

"With so many different priorities for so many different people we're always going to get some criticism but we've done the best we possibly can. We have to think about what is the right thing for the game overall rather than looking from one perspective only."


Men's Hundred full fixtures

July 17: Oval Invincibles vs Welsh Fire (The Oval)
July 18: Birmingham Phoenix vs London Spirit (Edgbaston)
July 18: Manchester Originals vs Northern Superchargers (Old Trafford)
July 19: Welsh Fire vs South Brave (Cardiff)
July 19: Trent Rockets vs Birmingham Phoenix (Trent Bridge)
July 20: Northern Superchargers vs Oval Invincibles (Headingley)
July 21: London Spirit vs Trent Rockets (Lord's)
July 22: Southern Brave vs Manchester Originals (Ageas Bowl)
July 23: London Spirit vs Northern Superchargers (Lord's)
July 24: Birmingham Phoenix vs Southern Brave (Edgbaston)
July 25: Oval Invincibles vs Manchester Originals (The Oval)
July 25: Trent Rockets vs Welsh Fire (Trent Bridge)
July 26: Southern Brave vs Oval Invincibles (Ageas Bowl)
July 26: Northern Superchargers vs Birmingham Phoenix (Headingley)
July 27: Manchester Originals vs Trent Rockets (Old Trafford)
July 28: Welsh Fire vs Birmingham Phoenix (Cardiff)
July 29: Oval Invincibles vs London Spirit (The Oval)
July 30: Northern Superchargers vs Southern Brave (Headingley)
July 31: Manchester Originals vs London Spirit (Old Trafford)


August 1: Welsh Fire vs Northern Superchargers (Cardiff)
August 2: Trent Rockets vs Oval Invincibles (Trent Bridge)
August 3: Birmingham Phoenix vs Manchester Originals (Edgbaston)
August 4: Southern Brave vs Trent Rockets (Ageas Bowl)
August 5: Northern Superchargers vs Manchester Originals (Headingley)
August 6: London Spirit vs Oval Invincibles (Lord's)
August 7: Southern Brave vs Welsh Fire (Ageas Bowl)
August 8: Birmingham Phoenix vs Trent Rockets (Edgbaston)
August 9: Welsh Fire vs London Spirit (Cardiff)
August 10: Trent Rockets vs Northern Superchargers (Trent Bridge)
August 11: Oval Invincibles vs Birmingham Phoenix (The Oval)
August 12: London Spirit vs Southern Brave (Lord's)
August 13: Manchester Originals vs Welsh Fire (Old Trafford)


August 15: FINALS DAY


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