With the T20 Vitality Blast almost at the half-way stage, two teams are looking particularly strong. In the Northern Group, Lancashire Lightning have won six of their seven games and lead the group by three points. In the Southern section, Surrey have won five of their six matches so far; the other game – against Glamorgan – failed to yield a result due to the weather. This leaves Surrey three points ahead of last season’s beaten finalists, Somerset having played one fewer game.
Lancashire Lightning were disappointed not to make finals day last year. Having finished third in the North Group, they faced an in-form Somerset team in the quarter final stage where they were well beaten. With the bat, Lancashire have Tim David, Phil Salt and Liam Livingstone to thank for scoring the lion’s share of the runs. All three have scored in excess of 160 runs already this season. Livingstone has been quite economical with the ball in hand too – with an economy rate of just 7.54 from his 24.4 overs.
With thirteen points already on the board, Lancashire are within just a couple of points of securing their place in the quarter-finals. They will hope that they don’t meet another form team in the last eight, if they get there. As it stands, Lancashire would play Gloucestershire in the quarter-final. However, you wouldn’t bet against a resurgent Hampshire grabbing fourth place at the death – and this could be Lancashire’s worst case scenario.
Last night, Lancashire kept their unbeaten record intact as they triumphed in the ‘war of the roses’ in a tight match at Headingly against old foes Yorkshire. Chasing down Yorkshire’s total of 209/8, Lancashire amassed 213/5 – winning by 4 runs.
Surrey look every inch the team to beat in this year’s Blast. Sunil Narine and Sam Curran are in great form for the side from the Oval. Narine has the best economy rate (4.85) of any bowler in the Blast. Alongside Narine, Sam Curran has taken 10 wickets from 11.3 overs bowled whilst maintaining an impressive economy rate of 6.52. Such domination with the ball is leaving Surrey with little to do with the bat. Runs are distributed across the batting line-up. Surrey bat deep. Sam Curran and Will Jacks have scored well. The former has 186 runs to his name already and must be regarded as one of the Blast’s most valuable players at this point.
Last night, Surrey dispatched Sussex at the Oval, winning by 7 wickets. Rapid half-centuries by Jason Roy (50 off 41 balls) and Will Jacks (57 off 37 balls) ensured that their unbeaten record remained intact.
Fortunes can change quickly in twenty over cricket. Just ask Kent Spitfires. Kent dominated the competition in 2021, winning the South Group before winning the knockout competition on a dramatic finals day at Edgbaston. This year, the story for Kent couldn’t be more different. The Spitfires find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with just one win in seven outings.
The end of season interest, it seems, will be in who finishes third and fourth in each of the two groups. Once any of these teams makes it through to the knockout stages, literally anything can happen.