The first ball of the 20th T20 Vitality Blast season will be bowled tomorrow evening as the 18 teams hope to sweep, slog and strike their way to Edgbaston finals day in July. Here’s what you need to know about each team.
Derbyshire have reached the knockouts the least of any team – three – and have been to finals day just once – in 2019. They’ll hope 47-cap Scottish international Mark Watt can fire them into the quarters.
Now the county of England captain Ben Stokes, Durham will hope he sticks around for a few matches to help them win a maiden title. Their T20 captain Ashton Turner will specialise for the county in this competition.
Lancashire have recruited Englishman Phil Salt and will no doubt call on the likes of Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler and Matt Parkinson to drive them to Birmingham.
Leicestershire have won the competition on the most occasions – three – but haven’t claimed the trophy since 2011. They’ve signed Afghans Naveen-ul-Haq and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
The first team to win the competition after Edgbaston was handed the final’s day residency in 2013, Northants have a pair of wins in this competition. They’re yet to reach the showpiece Birmingham event since 2016.
Nottinghamshire have reached the knockouts in 11 of the last 12 years and have won the competition twice in the last five. They’re T20 specialists and one of the favourites.
Despite being the host club of finals day, the Bears haven’t reached the showpiece event since 2017. They’ve recruited former Middlesex star Paul Stirling to join Carlos Brathwaite at the crease.
Surprise winners a few years ago in 2018, Worcestershire tend to blow hot and cold in the Blast. They haven’t made the knockouts since 2019.
Joe Root’s Yorkshire have never won this competition and have reached finals day just twice. They’ll call on overseas player Shadab Khan.
Having failed to reach a knockout game since their only win in 2019, Essex will hope Aussie Daniel Sams will be their form player this year.
Yet to make it to a final, Glamorgan have the likes of Colin Ingram, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser to call upon this time around.
Gloucestershire are yet to win the Blast, despite reaching the knockouts in three of the last four years. They have highly-rated Pakistani Naseem Shah until the end of the group stages.
Hampshire have turned to Aussie duo Ben McDurmott and Nathan Ellis to a first win since 2012. The Hawks have good form in the Blast, too, having reached finals day in eight of the last 12 years.
Last year’s winners will be looking to defend their Edgbaston crown and have recruited rising Afghan star Qais Ahmad to help in the bowing department. They were underdogs last year but they’ll have a target on their backs this time around.
Bringing disco cricket to the iconic pavilion of Lord’s, Middlesex underperformed in this competition for over a decade. Since their maiden win in 2008, they’ve failed to make it to the quarter-finals in 11 seasons.
Last year’s runners-up have finished second on four occasions and are yet to repeat their winning run in 2005 which saw them lift the title. They’re on the up, however, and will want to add another Blast trophy to their cabinet.
Then known as the Lions, Surrey won the first edition of this competition back in 2003. The inaugural win remains their only win in the competition but they’ve signed Kieron Pollard in a bid to boost their chances.
Sussex are on a run of four consecutive seasons in the knockouts. They’ll call on the overseas trio of Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan, world class bowler Rashid Khan and Australian Josh Philippe for the Blast.