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It's outta here! ECB send a cricket ball to the 'edge of space'

9.74K   //    16 May 2014, 17:56 IST

Bored with the cricket ball “clearing the roof”, “going into orbit” and “out of the park”? How about the ‘edge of space’ then?

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) tried an innovative gimmick to kick-start the inaugural season of their revamped domestic T20 competition, called Natwest T20 Blast on Friday.

ECB, with the help of a few aeronautical engineers, launched the official match ball from Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, tied to a helium balloon. The ball reached a height of 33,000 metres (110,000 feet) in the stratosphere, still quite far from the Karman Line (at a distance of 100 kilometre from Earth’s sea level, it’s the commonly represented boundary between Earth and outer space), but probably the farthest any cricket ball has ever gone.

At 33 kilometres above Earth’s sea level, about 3 times the height at which commercial flights operate, the ball endured temperatures of -54 degree Celsius (-130 degree Fahrenheit) and pressure of 9.9mbar.

From its peak height, the ball then fell towards Earth at a speed of about 800 kmph (500 mph) before a parachute deployed and landed it in near-perfect condition in Newbury, Berkshire.


The official white match ball which was attached to a helium balloon and sent to height of 33 kms above Earth’s sea level (Image courtesy: England and Wales Cricket Board)

“Ahead of the launch of the NatWest T20 Blast season, we wanted to do something that would reflect the competition’s exciting brand of cricket and vibrant in-ground atmosphere.

“By sending a cricket ball to the edge of space, we’ve come up with an innovative idea which vividly illustrates our own plans to make this summer’s NatWest T20 Blast competition a truly memorable experience for cricket fans everywhere,” David Collier, ECB Chief Executive said.

About Natwest T20 Blast

The first season of Natwest T20 Blast, which replaces Friends Life T20 as the domestic T20 competition in England, will run from 16th May to 23rd August. 18 counties will participate in this 11-week competition.

These 18 teams are divided in two groups of 9 teams. Each team will play 6 other teams in their group in a home and away format, and single fixtures with two remaining teams. The top 4 teams from each group will go into the knockout stages. The final will be played in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Considering the advert released for Natwest T20 Blast, this latest attempt by ECB doesn’t sound so over the top after all:

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