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T20 Vitality Blast – Tonight’s fixtures and Sunday recap

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Tonight’s fixtures include an intriguing contest between the two form teams in the North Group. Derbyshire Falcons entertain Northamptonshire Steelbacks at the Incora Ground, Derby with both teams well in the hunt for a place in the quarter finals.

In the South Group, the leaders take on second as Somerset travel to the Kia Oval to face Surrey. Both teams won impressively at the weekend making this one very interesting indeed.

North Group

Notts Outlaws v Leicestershire Foxes – Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Derbyshire Falcons v Northamptonshire Steelbacks – Incora County Ground, Derby

South Group

Glamorgan v Middlesex – Sophia Gardens, Cardiff

Surrey v Somerset – The Kia Oval, Kennington

Kent Spitfires v Gloucestershire – The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Five out of six teams chased below par totals with consummate ease on Sunday. Like a pride of lions hunting down injured antelope on the Savannah, Somerset, Surrey, Derbyshire, Middlesex, Lancashire and Glamorgan all made light work of their struggling prey. Leicestershire were the only T20 side to defend their total.

Going into Tuesday’s round of matches, only Surrey and Lancashire are certain of a spot in the knockout phase of the competition.

North Group

Lancashire returned to the summit of the North Group after savaging Nottinghamshire’s 179/7 under the shadow of Blackpool tower at Stanley Park. Steven Croft and Dane Vilas did the lion’s share of the damage after Keaton Jennings had ripped the heart out of the Outlaws’ attack with a fierce 24 off 13 balls (SR: 184.61). Vilas made an equally unrestrained 55 off 30 balls striking at a rate of 183.33 before Croft finished their run-chase with 10 balls and six-wickets in hand. Nottinghamshire are on the brink of elimination from the competition and will require three wins from five to stand a chance of progressing.

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Derbyshire clawed their way back into contention with a fine run-chase at Edgbaston. The Falcons made the Birmingham Bears pay for a weak power play despite the middle order rallying to give the Bears 159/7 to defend. Sam Connors played a large part in reducing the home side to 23/3 in the fourth over, removing Paul Stirling (2) and Alex Davies (5) for single figure scores. The Falcons top order batters settled the matter with 7 wickets in hand and 11 balls remaining. Wayne Madsen did the bulk of the scoring with 55 from 34 balls (SR: 161.76).

In the only other game to be played in the North Group on Sunday, Leicestershire Foxes defended 157/9 as they mauled Durham by 51 runs. The Foxes’ seventeen year-old leg spinner, Rehan Ahmed, finished with figures of 4-22, including the wickets of three of Durham’s top five batters. Callum Parkinson’s 3-16 was none to shabby either. This was a must win game for the Foxes in the context of their fight to secure a top-four spot. And this win, their second on the spin, sees the Foxes move up to sixth in the table on ten points, just two behind Derbyshire in fourth. Andrew Tye’s five fer for Durham deserves a mention.

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South Group

Arguably the match of the day was at Chelmsford where Essex entertained Somerset in a battle between second and third. After a sauntering start, Essex set Somerset a respectable target of 188 to chase. However, Somerset were bloodthirsty in pursuit. First, Will Smeed smashed 22 off 7 balls (SR: 314.28) early in the powerplay before Rilee Rossouw blasted a ferocious 85 off 36 balls (SR: 236.11) to mortally wound the Eagles in a delightful cocktail of beauty and brutality. Somerset now look comfortable in second place but must take on leaders Surrey and streaky Hampshire in their next two.

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In the South Group’s other big game, Hampshire had high hopes of continuing their great form at home to a depleted Surrey side at The Ageas Bowl. However, as soon as the Oval side won the toss and elected to shove Hampshire in to bat, many around the ground were already fearing the worst for the Hawks. Hampshire struggled to get the ball away in the powerplay and this would ultimately cost them. 151/7 never looked like being enough and Surrey, who were ahead throughout the chase, put an end to the Hawks’ spirited resistance in the final over. Chris Jordan’s devastating maximum off the last ball of the penultimate over was enough to clip the wings of the high-flying Hawks.

Glamorgan hauled themselves back into contention with a tightly contested victory at Sussex Sharks. Set a mediocre total of 149/8 by Sussex, Glamorgan scored steadily to secure victory with an over to spare. Weighell finished the match with an emphatic six to finish off the match in style. Tymal Mills’ 3 for 30 was not quite enough to sway the match in the Sharks’ favour and they drop to eighth in the table following five straight defeats.

Middlesex were set a paltry 141/9 by Kent Spitfires and they duly obliged with 7 wickets and 15 balls remaining. After sharing the wickets between all six Middlesex bowlers, Stephen Eskinazi (28), Joe Cracknell (43 not out), and John Simpson (46) ensured the crowd at Lords were treated to a Middlesex victory that gives them a slim chance of progressing to the knockout stages. Kent’s hopes of another successful finals day were dashed long ago.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

In the North Group, on Saturday, Harry Brook’s 77 off 50 balls (SR: 154) was still not quite enough for Yorkshire to eclipse Derbyshire who moved to within a point of their hosts in the table with a six wicket victory at Chesterfield (D/L Method). South African middle order batter Leus du Plooy launched 48 off 20 balls (SR: 240) in a dynamic innings to see the Falcons total climb above the required rate by the time rain stopped play.

Master Blaster – Highest Strike Rate (minimum 5 innings to qualify)

1. Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire) 214.42

2. RE van der Merwe (Somerset) 210.25

3. Jamie Overton (Surrey) 200

4. Daniel Sams (Essex) 200

5. Rilee Rossouw (Somerset) 192.51

Bowled! Best Bowling Strike Rates (Minimum 15 overs bowled to qualify)

1. Andrew Tye (Durham) 7.7

2. Obed McCoy (Sussex) 8.3

3. Sam Curran (Surrey) 8.4

4. David Payne (Gloucestershire) 8.7

5. Jake Ball (Notts) 8.7

Vitality Blast Table, 20 June, 2022
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