It is that time of year again – the domestic white ball summer schedule has been announced.
The Vitality Blast will get things kicked off on June 9, with the group stages running right through to July 18 before the quarter-finals are held from August 24-27, culminating in Finals Day on September 19.
Defending champions Nottinghamshire will kick off their title defence against Worcestershire at New Road. The Rapids struggled for form last year, but the back-to-back finalists of 2018 and 2019 will be sure to put up quite the fight in the Outlaws’ first outing of the season as reigning champions.
Elsewhere on opening night, Lancashire play Derbyshire at home while Kent welcome neighbours Hampshire and Somerset take on Essex in what guarantees to be a thriller between two sides that have had a great deal of success across all formats in recent seasons.
Lord’s will see the first London derby between Middlesex and Surrey on June 10, but we will have to wait for July 2 for the first Roses match of the Blast at Headingley.
Fans of double-headers should keep an eye on July 16 when Hampshire will take on both Essex and Sussex.
The Royal London One-Day Cup fixtures have been confirmed, having been cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with fans of the one day form of the game surely delighted to have it back.
Running alongside the delayed inaugural season of the Hundred (for which the fixture list is yet to be confirmed), the cup is likely to have a renewed sense of interest with the next ODI World Cup only two years away.
The first set of pictures take place on July 22 and run through to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final on August 14, 17 and 19 respectively.
This fixture announcement should whet the appetite of all county fans.
Last year, most did not get to see any live cricket, and while it is still too early to say what shape domestic cricket viewing will take this year, there is hope that if the country continues to suppress the virus through distancing and vaccination, there will be a veritable buffet of live cricket on display.