Vitality T20 Blast 2021: Fixtures Schedule, Teams, Venues – All you need to Know
Vitality T20 Blast 2021 is a Domestic T20 Tournament played in England and Wales, consisting of 133 T20 matches and is scheduled to be played between June 9th - September 18th 2021.
The Vitality Blast returns to a 14-match group-stage format with all the 18 First-Class Counties split into North and South Groups.
North Group: Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire Falcons, Durham, Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Notts Outlaws, Worcestershire Rapids.
South Group: Essex Eagles, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent Spitfires, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex Sharks.
Each county will therefore play seven matches at home, and seven matches away, with the top four counties in each group progressing to the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals will be seeded with the higher-seeded team set to host their quarter-final. So, as an example, the top team in the North Group will host the fourth-ranked team from the South Group in the quarter-finals.
The four winners of the quarter-finals (24-27 August) progress to Finals Day. Finals Day will be staged at Edgbaston on 18 September.
Coach: Mark Robinson
Captain: Will Rhodes
Last Year’s Performance: Third (Central Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Sam Hain (284 runs, average 56.80)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Olly Stone (14 wickets, average 17.50)
Overseas players: Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies – whole tournament), Pieter Malan (South Africa – whole tournament)
Key man: Carlos Brathwaite - The West Indies all-rounder is a marquee signing and the Bears will look to him in terms of both performance and personality to drive their young and evolving side.
Flies under the radar: Jake Lintott - The wrist-spinner burst into the Blast side as an unknown quantity last year and bowled superbly. Not quite so unknown this time round but still an engaging mystery.
Best Player Under 24: Rob Yates - The 21-year-old batsman has proved he can play long innings in red-ball cricket. Last year he showed he has the range and confidence to shine in T20 too.
Blast expectations: Inconsistent and disappointing in recent seasons, much better is expected of the Bears this season under two men who know how to win in the format, director of cricket Paul Farbrace and first team coach Mark Robinson.
Last year's campaign concluded with an absolute nightmare when, in a winner-takes-all final group game against Northants Steelbacks at Edgbaston, they went to pieces with the ball and threw away an apparently impregnable position. Much greater resilience under pressure will be demanded this time - and much will depend on how they fare during a tough start of five straight away games due to the opening week of the tournament coinciding with Edgbaston hosting a LV= Insurance Test match against New Zealand.
Coach: Dominic Cork
Captain: Billy Godleman
Last Year’s Performance: Sixth (North Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Wayne Madsen (192 @ 24.00)
2020 Leading Wicket Takers: Dustin Melton (4 @ 31.00), Alex Hughes (4 @ 41.00), Matt Critchley (4 @ 58.75)
Overseas players: Ben McDermott (Australia – whole tournament), Logan van Beek (Netherlands – whole tournament).
Key man: Ben McDermott - The 26-year-old has earned a reputation as a T20 destroyer, highlighted by a swag-bag of 21 sixes for Hobart Hurricanes in last season's Big Bash.
Flies under the radar: Alex Hughes - Rarely grabs the headlines but the all-rounder is Derbyshire's leading T20 wicket-taker with 53 victims.
Best Player Under 24: Sam Conners - The 22-year-old fast bowler only made his T20 bow last year but his ability to swing the ball at pace could see him emerge in 2021.
Blast expectations: After reaching Finals Day in 2019, the Falcons failed to get off the ground last summer, winning only one game and losing seven although all their matches were played away as Derby was used by the ECB as a bio-secure ground. McDermott has the potential to revive their fortunes and be one of the stars of the tournament while Madsen and Critchley will also be central to Derbyshire's hopes of challenging in a tough group. The loss of Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake is a blow but his replacement, the 30-year-old van Beek, played his part in the Falcons’ run to Edgbaston two years ago, claiming nine wickets and returning figures of four for 17 against Yorkshire.
Coach: James Franklin
Last Year’s Performance: Fourth (North Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Alex Lees (365 @ 52.14)
2020 Leading Wicket Takers: Matty Potts (13 @ 18.07), Paul Coughlin (13 @ 16.23)
Overseas players: Cameron Bancroft (Australia – whole tournament), David Bedingham (South Africa – whole tournament)
Key man: Cameron Bancroft - Durham’s batting beyond the powerplay has been an issue for two seasons. Bancroft should be able to use his expansive strokeplay to maintain the pace of the innings.
Flies under the radar: Graham Clark - Clark has been quietly impressive at the top of the order. Clark provides a spark from the off, notching two fifties last term with a strike rate of 171.71.
Best Player Under 24: Matty Potts - Potts broke his own career-best figures in the Blast three times in 2020. He was accurate and deadly bowling in the powerplay. Potts will be a key player this term.
Blast expectations: Durham fell agonisingly short of the quarter-finals for the second Blast campaign in a row. James Franklin’s side received outstanding contributions from individuals, notably Lees, Clark, Potts, Coughlin and Ben Raine. However, in the crunch moments, Durham were not able to rise to the occasion. There is not a great deal of turnover in the squad, losing former captain Nathan Rimmington, Scott Steel and Farhaan Berhardien, none of whom excelled last term. Bancroft should provide experience and the ability to clear the fence in the middle order that has been sorely lacking. David Bedingham will also be richer for his experience last year. The batting ranks look solid, while a core of bowlers of Potts, Coughlin and Brydon Carse at their peak is an exciting prospect. Look for a quarter-final push from Durham in the 2021 season.
Coach: Glen Chapple
Captain: Dane Vilas
Last year’s performance: Semi-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Alex Davies (299 @ 29.9)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Matthew Parkinson (15 @ 20.66)
Overseas players: Dane Vilas (South Africa - whole tournament), Finn Allen (New Zealand - whole group stage, knockouts TBC)
Key man: Matthew Parkinson - England leg-spinner with 75 wickets in the last four Blast campaigns combined. Lightning’s leading wicket taker in each of those. Loves bowling at difficult times, including at the death.
Flies under the radar: Alex Davies - England players Livingstone, Mahmood and Parkinson get the headlines, but the diminutive wicketkeeper batsman (opener) is a star performer. Lightning’s leading runscorer for last three years, including 534 in 2018.
Best player under 24: Finn Allen - Explosive batsman, 22, who made T20 debut for New Zealand in March. Tall opener similar to Tom Banton. Could break up longstanding opening partnership between Alex Davies and Liam Livingstone.
Blast expectations: Lancashire are desperate to add to the solitary title they won in 2015 under the guidance of current England director of cricket Ashley Giles. Beaten semi-finalists in 2018 and 2020, they were beaten in the quarters by 2019 champions Essex. They have all the tools at their disposal. Power and nous with the bat, plenty of pace and spin with the ball. Especially strong on home turf at Emirates Old Trafford, where they push the boundaries out to suit their spinners. With the bat, they have more than enough power to clear those boundaries. It would be a big surprise if they didn’t reach the quarter-finals. Then it is just about being better in those pressure moments which come in knockout games. Only current champions Nottinghamshire have won more matches (119) than Lancashire (118) since the start of the Vitality Blast in 2003.
Coach: Paul Nixon
Captain: Colin Ackermann
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Aaron Lilley (278 @ 30.88)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Gavin Griffiths (10 @ 18.00), Callum Parkinson (10 @ 21.00).
Overseas players: Naveen-ul-Haq (Afghanistan - whole tournament), Josh Inglis (Australia – whole tournament).
Key man: Colin Ackermann - Leicestershire’s world-record holder - the only bowler to take seven wickets in a T20 innings - remains the county’s mainstay in all formats.
Flies under the radar: Gavin Griffiths - Joint leading wicket-taker in 2021, the Lancastrian pace bowler has 32 T20 wickets in four seasons since moving to the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Best Player Under 24: Naveen-ul-Haq - Only 21 years old, the Afghanistan fast bowler has already played in eight T20Is and seven ODIs. Known for his unusual action and an array of slower balls.
Blast expectations: Bottom of the North Division in 2019, Leicestershire surprised even themselves last year by almost reaching Finals Day for the first time since 2011. The Foxes squeezed into the knock-out stage with wins against Nottinghamshire and Lancashire before an unlucky exit in a low-scoring quarter-final against the eventual champions at Trent Bridge, when a last-ball misfield cruelly eliminated Leicestershire on the tie-breaker of runs scored in the Powerplay. Whether they can go one better this season remains to be seen but overseas pair Naveen-ul-Haq and Josh Inglis come with good stats in the format, while Scott Steel, their signing from Durham, had an outstanding 2019, including a 30-ball 70 against the Foxes at Grace Road. They will hope at least to be in contention.
Coach: David Ripley
Captain: Josh Cobb
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Paul Stirling (232 @ 25.77)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Ben Sanderson (12 @ 22.25)
Overseas players: Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Wayne Parnell (South Africa)
Key man: Richard Levi - Without Paul Stirling at the top of the order, extra responsibility will fall on the broad, experienced shoulders of big-hitting Levi to lay strong foundations in the powerplay.
Flies under the radar: Graeme White - Along with his consistent spin bowling, White also contributes valuable runs – evidenced by a 12-ball 37 not out against Birmingham to seal the Steelbacks’ quarter-final place last year.
Best Player Under 24: Saif Zaib - Having nailed down a regular place in Northants’ T20 side last season, the all-rounder will be aiming to build on glimpses of promise with both bat and ball.
Blast expectations: Despite featuring in three finals between 2013 and 2016, Northamptonshire have struggled in the tournament since the last of those, their second Blast success. The Steelbacks peaked early in 2020, winning four of their first five group matches before losing four on the trot and eventually scraping into to the quarter-finals.
But, although Alex Wakely – who captained Northants to both of those Blast victories – has retired, there is still plenty of experience within the squad at Wantage Road. Wayne Parnell, a Blast winner with Worcestershire Rapids in 2018, brings further depth to a capable seam attack led by Ben Sanderson, while off-spinner Mohammad Nabi also looks an astute overseas signing.
The question may be whether the Steelbacks’ batting line-up can deliver the goods regularly enough to secure a place in the knockout stages again.
Coach: Peter Moores
Captain: Dan Christian
Last Year’s Performance: Champions
2020 Leading Runscorer: Joe Clarke (371 @ 37.10)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Jake Ball (19 @ 13.63)
Overseas players: Dan Christian (Australia – whole tournament), Dane Paterson (South Africa - whole tournament)
Key man: Alex Hales - Had a sub-par Blast in 2020 yet bounced back as top scorer in the Big Bash and with 8,066 runs is the highest scoring Englishman in T20 history.
Flies under the radar: Steven Mullaney - Seldom makes headlines but scores quickly and has a knack of chipping in with vital wickets with his medium pace wobblers.
Best Player Under 24: Lyndon James - Yet to appear in the Blast but is expected to get his chance after impressing with bat and ball in red ball cricket this season.
Blast expectations: Semi-finalists three times in the last four seasons and winners twice, the defending champions are among the favourites again, although they must manage without left-arm spinner Imad Wasim from their title-winning team because of the clash with the rearranged Pakistan Super League, while 2020 leading wicket-taker Jake Ball has not played any cricket since April 9 because of a back injury. Nonetheless, with a top order comprising Alex Hales, Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke and big hitters such as Dan Christian and Tom Moores in the middle, Nottinghamshire should score heavily again, while Wasim’s absence will an opportunity for veteran all-rounder Samit Patel to show he can still make an impact in his 19th T20 campaign, having made 191 appearances since the competition began in 2003, more than any other player. Anything less than another trip to Finals Day will be seen as a disappointment.
Coach: Alex Gidman
Captain: Moeen Ali (stand-in captain when unavailable to be confirmed)
Last Year’s Performance: Bottom (Central Group)
2020 Leading Run Scorer: Hamish Rutherford (352 @ 39.11)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Ed Barnard (10 @ 26.00)
Overseas players: Ben Dwarshuis (Australia – whole tournament), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal – whole tournament)
Key man: Ben Dwarshuis - Leading wicket-taker for winners Sydney Sixers in the latest edition of the Big Bash and will add much needed variety to Rapids attack as a left-armer.
Flies under the radar: Ross Whiteley - By his standards had a couple of quiet T20 years but his big-hitting can destroy any attack and needs to impress in final year of current contract.
Best Player Under 24: Sandeep Lamichhane - Still only 20 but has plenty of experience from many T20 franchises and his leg spin will be unknown commodity in this country.
Blast expectations: The Rapids won the competition in 2018 and were runners-up in 2019 and there is a determination to ensure last season’s below-woeful performance was a mere blip. The absence of Moeen Al and Wayne Parnell plus an under-cooked Pat Brown, after being a non-playing member in the England bubble, meant their attack was weakened and their batsmen also failed to deliver.
The expected availability of Rapids captain Moeen for part of the tournament will be a massive boost in both skill sets and he is capable of taking any attack apart at the top of the order. Overseas signings Ben Dwarshuis and Sandeep Lamichane will add T20 experience and variety to an attack that was often cannon fodder last summer.
Expect Riki Wessels to rediscover his hitting skills as he looks to repeat his 2019 form when setting a new Rapids record for most Blast runs in a season – 461. It will be a disappointment if the Rapids do not at least qualify from their group for the knockout stages.
Coach: Andrew Gale
Captain: David Willey
Last year’s performance: Fifth (North Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Adam Lyth (308 @ 38.5)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Matthew Fisher (8 @ 15.25), Jordan Thompson (8 @ 25.5)
Overseas players: Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand - whole group stage), Duanne Olivier (South Africa - whole tournament), Mathew Pillans (South Africa - whole tournament)
Key man: David Willey - Captain and explosive all-rounder has only found rhythm for Yorkshire this summer following injury and unavailability - five years after leaving Northamptonshire. If he finds form, the Vikings could fly.
Flies under the radar: Jordan Thompson - Emerging all-rounder to watch at 24. Last season’s standout player for Yorkshire in four-day cricket, he bats, bowls and fields and has plenty of fire in his belly.
Best player under 24: Harry Brook. Exhilarating batsman, 22. Scored maiden fifty in 25th T20 appearance at the end of 2020 and will plan to build on strong starts from openers Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
Blast expectations: How Yorkshire have only ever reached Finals Day twice (2012 and 2016) is a mystery. They have had strong squads throughout the last two decades, but success hasn’t arrived. This year is no different. England duo Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid should be available for the first four or five matches, and the Vikings must capitalise. Plenty of batting power, they have beefed up their fast-bowling stocks with the signing of New Zealand quick Lockie Ferguson. Captain David Willey has helped design a striking new Nike playing shirt and wants his team to play a similarly electric brand of cricket. But they have to play smart as well if they want to break their trophy duck.
Coach: Anthony McGrath
Captain: Simon Harmer
Last Year’s Performance: Fifth (South Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Ryan ten Doeschate (255 runs @ 51 average)
2020 Leading Wicket Takers: Simon Harmer (10 wickets @ 28.10 average), Matt Quinn (10 wickets @ 21.30 average)
Overseas players: Simon Harmer (South Africa – whole tournament), Jimmy Neesham (New Zealand – Group Stage)
Key man: Ryan ten Doeschate – Only six players have played more T20 games than the 369 appearances totted up by the Dutch international. His middle-order runs come quickly and often stealthily.
Flies under the radar: Paul Walter – ‘Tall Paul’ hits a big ball, he once his six sixes in an over in club cricket, and his lanky left-arm seam isn’t a bundle of laughs to face either.
Best Player Under 24: Jack Plom – The Basildon-born fast bowler was a rare positive in 2020 with seven wickets coming fairly cheaply. He has genuine pace and has been impressing during second XI warm-ups.
Blast expectations: Essex have rolled with the boom and bust of T20 cricket in the past two seasons. In 2019 they lifted the Blast trophy for the first time, but a year later the Eagles could only manage two wins to finish with the fourth-lowest points tally in the country. From that victorious side, Cameron Delport, Ravi Bopara and, for the early stages, Dan Lawrence are lost from the batting line-up, while the bowling looks weaker with Adam Zampa, Mohammad Amir and Bopara’s absences.
Jimmy Neesham has arrived and the hope is he will be able to fill Bopara old brief - four overs of measly medium pace and explosive middle-order batting. His success could underpin Essex’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals. On paper, Essex look among the weaker sides in the South Group, but the same could have been said two years ago – and this is a county who just know how to win.
Coach: Matthew Maynard
Captain: Chris Cooke
Last Year’s Performance: Fifth (Central Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Andy Balbirnie (255 @ 36.42)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Timm van der Gugten (14 @ 14.92)
Overseas players: Colin Ingram (South Africa – whole tournament); Marnus Labuschagne (Australia – June-July)
Key man: Colin Ingram – The hard-hitting South African has made Glamorgan his second home and after missing the Vitality Blast last year he will be keen to assert his authority on the competition again.
Flies under the radar: Timm van der Gugten – The Netherlands international has been Glamorgan’s leading wicket-taker in his past two Blast campaigns for the club. He’s in good form, claiming man-of-the-match honours in Holland’s opening ODI against Ireland this week after claiming four wickets in the most recent LV= Insurance County Championship match against Kent.
Best Player Under 24: Kiran Carlson – After bursting onto the scene as an 18-year-old it has been a bit of a slow burn for Carlson who offered a firm reminder of his class with a pair of twin tons against Sussex earlier this summer. He struggled in the Blast last year but it is surely a matter of time before he finds the consistency to make him a potent force in the Glamorgan middle order.
Blast expectations: Glamorgan have endured a tough time since reaching Finals Day four years ago, but there is reason for optimism as they aim to get back to the knockout stages. Glamorgan won three of their final four games last summer and their batting is boosted by the return of Colin Ingram. David Lloyd is back to full fitness, Marnus Labuschagne is set to be available for the entire group stage and young gun Kiran Carlson has shown signs he is ready to take the next steps in his career.
Coach: Ian Harvey (interim)
Captain: Jack Taylor
Last Year’s Performance: Semi-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Ian Cockbain (399 @ 44.33)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: David Payne (16 @ 18.68)
Overseas players: Dan Worrall (Australia), Glenn Phillips (New Zealand) - both all tournament
Key man: Ian Cockbain - Possess incredible ball-striking ability and is a player that has real fear-factor for opposition attacks.
Flies under the radar: Chris Dent - cast as a red-ball specialist, he returned to the T20 side last summer after a four-year absence and made 371 runs at 33.72
Best Player Under 24: Tom Lace - Very highly-rated batsman who joined from Middlesex. Yet to play a T20 match but talent will no doubt transfer to the shortest format
Blast expectations: Gloucestershire will expect another strong campaign having become one of the most consistent T20 sides of the past few years. Four times in the last five seasons they have qualified for the quarter-finals and in 2020 finally overcame their knockout hoodoo by destroying Northamptonshire and earning a place at Finals Day for the first time since 2007.
It wasn’t the return to Edgbaston they envisaged, losing a crucial toss and being comfortably beaten by Surrey, and no doubt there will be a feeling of unfinished business to prove they belong on county cricket’s grandest stage.
A strong start to the LV= Insurance County Championship suggests a squad full of confidence and the addition of New Zealander Glenn Phillips adds quality that could help them return to Finals Day.
Coach: Adi Birrell
Captain: James Vince
Last Year’s Performance: Bottom (South Group)
Leading Runscorer: James Fuller (205 @ 34.16)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Mason Crane (9 @ 22.00)
Overseas players: D’Arcy Short (Australia); Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand)
Key man: James Vince - After helping Sydney Sixers win the Australian Big Bash, the Hawks skipper will be desperate to repeat that success on home soil.
Flies under the radar: Ian Holland – The American-born, Australian all-rounder has been in fine form with the bat in the LV = Insurance County Championship and is a decent but unheralded seam bowler.
Best player under 24: Tom Prest - The hugely exciting 18-year-old batsman could be given the chance to transfer his prolific 2nd XI form – where he scored a triple century last month – to the Blast.
Blast expectations: After a bitterly disappointing 2020 season that produced just two wins from 10 matches and a last-placed group finish, the newly-rebranded Hawks will be confident of a much-improved campaign as they look to win a third Blast title. Big-hitting opener Short should deliver runs at the top of the order and canny all-rounder de Grandhomme control and accuracy with the ball. With Crane, Vince, Fuller and Liam Dawson in their ranks, few teams boast a more balanced squad. If everything clicks, there’s every reason to believe the 2010 and 2012 winners will be contenders for a Finals Day spot.
Coach: Matt Walker
Captain: Sam Billings
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Runscorer: Daniel Bell-Drummond (423 @ 42.3)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Fred Klaassen (13 @ 28.76)
Overseas players: Mohammed Amir (Pakistan – after conclusion of PSL), Qais Ahmed (Afghanistan – whole tournament)
Key man: Mohammed Amir - His availability could be an issue, but Amir potentially gives Kent something they’ve lacked all season: a genuine strike threat and the capacity to generate fear in batsmen.
Flies under the radar: Jack Leaning - The third-highest scorer last time out, he took four for 16 in a second XI warm-up against Essex and after a tough start seems to be improving with every week.
Best Player Under 24: Ollie Robinson - Hopes are high for Tawanda Muyeye, but Robinson has been the brightest spark on and off the field so far, embracing the chance to open in red ball cricket.
Blast expectations: The switch to the white-ball will come as a relief for a side bottom of their LV= Insurance County Championship group, despite Walker’s pre-season statement that this was the most excited he’d been about a group of players for a long time. A two-day defeat in Cardiff aside, Kent haven’t been abject, but they’ve never really been close to winning either. Amir should address the obvious lack of firepower and there’s talk of a recall for Darren Stevens in the wake of his unhinged 190 against Glamorgan at Canterbury. The 45-year-old hasn’t played T20 for two years, but brings the kind of experience that might just see the Spitfires over the line, having hit the winning runs when Kent won the tournament in 2007 – the last time the county lifted a trophy.
Coach: Stuart Law
Captain: Eoin Morgan
Last Year’s Performance: Fourth in the South Group
2020 Leading Runscorer: Stevie Eskinazi (413 runs @ 41.30)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Steven Finn (14 wickets @ 19.00)
Overseas players: Chris Green (Australia – first seven group games) Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan – final seven group games), Paul Stirling (Ireland – opening five group matches), Daryl Mitchell (New Zealand – final nine group matches)
Key man: Stevie Eskinazi. With Morgan and Stirling only available for the opening stages, Middlesex will look to Eskinazi to embrace the freedom to play his shots and repeat last year’s sparkling form.
Flies under the radar: Nathan Sowter. Leg-spinner Sowter may attract few headlines but has become one of Middlesex’s most consistent T20 wicket takers and helped propel his side to the quarter finals in 2019.
Best Player Under 24: Luke Hollman. Another leg-spinner, Hollman made his first team debut in the Vitality Blast in 2019, impressing with bat and ball. Useful contributions in the Championship since have further underlined his potential.
Blast expectations: While Middlesex have underperformed in the Blast, this year’s tournament will be a welcome switch in formats after a poor start to their Championship campaign. England white ball captain Eoin Morgan returns as skipper and bolsters a brittle batting line-up alongside explosive Ireland opener Paul Stirling.
Power-hitting New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell joins for the final group games, but the challenge for the rest of the batters is whether they can post competitive totals consistently once Morgan and Stirling resume international duties. Otherwise, Middlesex again have a largely youthful feel. The Seaxes will hope these promising youngsters can kick on after being given an extended run over the last year.
Spin could play a decisive role with several slow bowling options available, including experienced leg-spinner Nathan Sowter, Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman who has risen to number five in the world rankings since his last stint at Lord’s and Sydney Thunder off-spinning all-rounder Chris Green.
Coach: Jason Kerr
Captain: Lewis Gregory
Last Year’s Performance: Fourth (Central Group)
2020 Leading Runscorer: Tom Abell (227 @ 32.42)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Ollie Sale (13 @ 23.15)
Overseas players: Marchant de Lange (South Africa – whole tournament), Devon Conway (New Zealand – nine Group Stage games)
Key man: Lewis Gregory – Somerset’s T20 skipper is capable of blasting quick runs at the end of an innings and taking key wickets, both as an opening bowler and at the death.
Flies under the radar: Max Waller – Having developed into a specialist T20 bowler, the economical leg-spinner often opens the attack and can pin batsmen down with his variety of delivery and subtle changes of pace.
Best Player Under 24: Tom Banton – The 22-year-old batsman’s vast array of punishing shots have already earned him nine T20 appearances for England and six one-day international appearances. Can also keep wicket.
Blast expectations: Director of cricket Andy Hurry and head coach Jason Kerr make no secret of expecting to win every competition their team enter. This season’s Blast is no exception. But Somerset have won only ten of 24 group matches over the past two seasons, failing to reach Finals Day since 2018, and will need a much greater degree of consistency to stand any chance of lifting the trophy.
Only Tom Abell and Babar Azam scored more than 200 runs in last season’s group stage and Somerset will need some of their young guns - Tom Banton, Tom Lammonby, Lewis Goldsworthy and Will Smeed - to build on some hugely promising performances. Skipper Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton will look to lead the way with the ball, aided by the ultra-consistent Max Waller, while Roelof van der Merwe’s all-round skills, including those of a superb fielder, will again be key to hopes of success.
Coach: Vikram Solanki
Captain: Rory Burns
Last Year’s Performance: Runners-up
2020 Leading Runscorer: Laurie Evans (363 @ 45.37)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: Dan Moriarty (17 @ 18.29)
Overseas players: Hashim Amla (South Africa – whole tournament).
Key man: Will Jacks – The talented 22-year-old had a standout Blast last year, hitting 309 runs at a strike rate of almost 150 and taking 13 wickets with his off spin at only 16 runs apiece and an impressive economy rate of 6.46.
Flies under the radar: Laurie Evans – Now 33, the former Warwickshire and Sussex batsman returned to his native Surrey last year and has quietly built a fine white-ball record, with 3,624 career T20 runs.
Best Player Under 24: Sam Curran and Ollie Pope – Difficult to choose between these two gifted homegrown cricketers, both already established Test players. Surrey fans will be especially keen to see Pope’s magical strokeplay throughout the competition if he doesn’t make England’s white-ball teams.
Blast expectations: Very high. Beaten by Nottinghamshire Outlaws in the floodlit final at a dew-soaked Edgbaston on October 4 last year, Surrey’s squad now looks even stronger – particularly in the early games when their England white-ball players Jason Roy and the Curran brothers are available. Injuries to quicks Reece Topley and Sean Abbott have ruled both out of the competition – a pair of untimely blows in the past week.
Coach: James Kirtley
Captain: Luke Wright
Last Year’s Performance: Quarter-finalists
2020 Leading Run Scorer: David Wiese (281 @ 40.14)
2020 Leading Wicket Taker: George Garton (14 @ 16.5)
Overseas players: Rashid Khan (available from June 27), David Wiese (available for whole tournament), Travis Head (available for whole tournament).
Key man: Rashid Khan - The Afghanistan leg-spinner is back for his third season, having taken 24 wickets in 20 games. With Danny Briggs gone, his control and wicket-taking potential will be vital.
Flies under the radar: George Garton – He was outstanding in 2020 with 14 wickets and the best economy rate of Sussex’s seamers. He took 20 off a Steve Finn over to beat Middlesex and underline his batting potential.
Best Player Under 24: Delray Rawlins – The all-rounder is an explosive batsman who scores quickly anywhere in the top five while his left-arm spin could be handy, especially on used, dry pitches.
Blast expectations: Sussex look to have all bases covered and it will be a big surprise if the 2018 finalists don’t at least get to the knockout stages. Even at 36, skipper Luke Wright still has a lot to offer and commands enviable resources, even without Jofra Archer and with Chris Jordan’s appearances likely to be limited by England commitments. The mercurially talented Rashid Khan can be relied on to win a game or two on his own, Travis Head will bring runs and big-match experience and Ravi Bopara is too good a player not to improve on a disappointing 2020. It’s hard to see many opportunities for the youngsters Sussex have blooded in the Championship, although off-spinner Jack Carson might get his chance. Coach James Kirtley has promised a more analytical and innovative approach and it will be fascinating to see what this will mean.
All knockout matches will have a reserve day should that be required.
Vitality Blast Fixtures
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
Kent Spitfires v Hampshire (Canterbury)
Lancashire Lightning v Derbyshire (Emirates Old Trafford)
Worcestershire Rapids v Notts Outlaws (New Road)
Somerset v Essex Eagles (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Yorkshire Vikings v Birmingham Bears (Emerald Headingley)
Lancashire Lightning v Leicestershire Foxes (Emirates Old Trafford)
Middlesex v Surrey (Lord's)
Glamorgan v Gloucestershire (Sophia Gardens)
Friday, June 11, 2021
Gloucestershire v Sussex Sharks (Bristol County Ground)
Kent Spitfires v Middlesex (Canterbury)
Durham v Yorkshire Vikings (Emirates Riverside)
Essex Eagles v Hampshire (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Somerset v Surrey (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Worcestershire Rapids (The County Ground, Northampton)
Notts Outlaws v Birmingham Bears (Trent Bridge)
Leicestershire Foxes v Derbyshire (Upton steel County Ground)
Saturday, June 12, 2021
Sussex Sharks v Hampshire (The 1st Central County Ground)
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Kent Spitfires v Gloucestershire (Canterbury)
Worcestershire Rapids v Lancashire Lightning (New Road)
Glamorgan v Essex Eagles (Sophia Gardens)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Notts Outlaws (The County Ground Northampton)
Derbyshire v Birmingham Bears (The Incora County Ground)
Leicestershire Foxes v Durham (Upton steel County Ground)
Monday, June 14, 2021
Surrey v Glamorgan (Kia Oval)
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Yorkshire Vikings v Leicestershire Foxes (Emerald Headingley)
Durham v Notts Outlaws (Emirates Riverside)
Middlesex v Hampshire (Venue TBC)
Essex Eagles v Sussex Sharks (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Somerset v Kent Spitfires (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Birmingham Bears (The County Ground Northampton)
Derbyshire v Lancashire Lightning (The Incora County Ground)
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Worcestershire Rapids v Yorkshire Vikings (New Road)
Glamorgan v Kent Spitfires (Sophia Gardens)
Leicestershire Foxes v Birmingham Bears (Upton steel County Ground)
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Durham v Lancashire Lightning (Emirates Riverside)
Surrey v Sussex Sharks (Kia Oval)
Middlesex v Gloucestershire (Venue TBC)
Derbyshire v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (The Incora County Ground)
Friday, June 18, 2021
Birmingham Bears v Lancashire Lightning (Edgbaston)
Yorkshire Vikings v Durham (Emerald Headingley)
Surrey v Hampshire (Kia Oval)
Worcestershire Rapids v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (New Road)
Glamorgan v Middlesex (Sophia Gardens)
Sussex Sharks v Somerset (The 1st Central County Ground)
Essex Eagles v Gloucestershire (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Notts Outlaws v Derbyshire (Trent Bridge)
Saturday, June 19, 2021
Somerset v Glamorgan (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Sunday, June 20, 2021
Gloucestershire v Hampshire (Bristol County Ground)
Kent Spitfires v Essex Eagles (Canterbury)
Yorkshire Vikings v Derbyshire (Emerald Headingley)
Durham v Birmingham Bears (Emirates Riverside)
Lancashire Lightning v Notts Outlaws (Emirates Old Trafford)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Leicestershire Foxes (The County Ground Northampton)
Monday, June 21, 2021
Surrey v Essex Eagles (Kia Oval)
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Gloucestershire v Kent Spitfires (Bristol County Ground)
Sussex Sharks v Glamorgan (The 1st Central County Ground)
Derbyshire v Leicestershire Foxes (The Incora County Ground)
Notts Outlaws v Worcestershire Rapids (Trent Bridge)
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Yorkshire Vikings v Worcestershire Rapids (Emerald Headingley)
Durham v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (Emirates Riverside)
Surrey v Somerset (Kia Oval)
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Birmingham Bears v Derbyshire (Edgbaston)
Gloucestershire v Glamorgan (Bristol County Ground)
Middlesex v Essex Eagles (Lord's)
Friday, June 25, 2021
Surrey v Middlesex (Kia Oval)
Worcestershire Rapids v Durham (New Road)
Sussex Sharks v Gloucestershire (The 1st Central County Ground)
Essex Eagles v Kent Spitfires (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Somerset v Hampshire (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Lancashire Lightning (The County Ground Northampton)
Derbyshire v Notts Outlaws (The Incora County Ground)
Leicestershire Foxes v Yorkshire Vikings (Upton steel County Ground)
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Birmingham Bears v Durham (Edgbaston)
Yorkshire Vikings v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (Emerald Headingley)
Notts Outlaws v Lancashire Lightning (Trent Bridge)
Sunday, June 27, 2021
Worcestershire Rapids v Leicestershire Foxes (New Road)
Middlesex v Glamorgan (Venue TBC)
Sussex Sharks v Surrey (The 1st Central County Ground)
Monday, June 28, 2021
Hampshire v Middlesex (Ageas Bowl)
Kent Spitfires v Somerset (Canterbury)
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Glamorgan v Surrey (Sophia Gardens)
Sussex Sharks v Kent Spitfires (The 1st Central County Ground)
Essex Eagles v Somerset (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Leicestershire Foxes v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (Uptonsteel County Ground)
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Hampshire v Surrey (Ageas Bowl)
Birmingham Bears v Yorkshire Vikings (Edgbaston)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Durham (The County Ground Northampton)
Thursday, July 01, 2021
Gloucestershire v Somerset (Bristol County Ground)
Lancashire Lightning v Worcestershire Rapids (Emirates Old Trafford)
Middlesex v Sussex Sharks (Lord's)
Essex Eagles v Glamorgan (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Notts Outlaws v Leicestershire Foxes (Trent Bridge)
Friday, July 02, 2021
Hampshire v Gloucestershire (Ageas Bowl)
Kent Spitfires v Surrey (Canterbury)
Birmingham Bears v Notts Outlaws (Edgbaston)
Yorkshire Vikings v Lancashire Lightning (Emerald Headingley)
Durham v Leicestershire Foxes (Emirates Riverside)
Glamorgan v Sussex Sharks (Sophia Gardens)
Somerset v Middlesex (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Derbyshire v Worcestershire Rapids (The Incora County Ground)
Friday, July 09, 2021
Hampshire v Somerset (Ageas Bowl)
Gloucestershire v Middlesex (Cheltenham)
Lancashire Lightning v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (Emirates Old Trafford)
Durham v Derbyshire (Emirates Riverside)
Surrey v Kent Spitfires (Kia Oval)
Worcestershire Rapids v Birmingham Bears (New Road)
Sussex Sharks v Essex Eagles (The 1st Central County Ground)
Notts Outlaws v Yorkshire Vikings (Trent Bridge)
Friday, July 16, 2021
Hampshire v Essex Eagles (Ageas Bowl – afternoon match)
Hampshire v Sussex Sharks (Ageas Bowl – evening match)
Gloucestershire v Surrey (Cheltenham)
Birmingham Bears v Worcestershire Rapids (Edgbaston)
Lancashire Lightning v Durham (Emirates Old Trafford)
Middlesex v Kent Spitfires (Lord's)
Glamorgan v Somerset (Sophia Gardens)
Northamptonshire Steelbacks v Derbyshire (The County Ground Northampton)
Leicestershire Foxes v Notts Outlaws (Upton steel County Ground)
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Lancashire Lightning v Yorkshire Vikings (Emirates Old Trafford)
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Hampshire v Glamorgan (Ageas Bowl)
Kent Spitfires v Sussex Sharks (Canterbury)
Derbyshire v Yorkshire Vikings (Chesterfield)
Birmingham Bears v Northamptonshire Steelbacks (Edgbaston)
Essex Eagles v Middlesex (The Cloudfm County Ground)
Somerset v Gloucestershire (The Cooper Associates County Ground)
Notts Outlaws v Durham (Trent Bridge)
Leicestershire Foxes v Worcestershire Rapids (Upton steel County Ground)
Tuesday, August 24 – Friday August 27 2021
Vitality Blast Quarter-finals
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Vitality Blast Finals Day (Edgbaston)
©Cricket World 2021