Vitality Blast week one

Vitality Blast week one

Surrey showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the South Group

With the T20 World Cup dominating Sky cricket coverage and counties wanting to maximise crowds by playing Blast games between Thursdays and Sundays, we now have a three day break. Perhaps the most understandable concern of players is the short turn around between matches, but perhaps they need to speak to their employers about that and play a few more midweek Blast games?

All the sides have played at least two matches and Surrey have reinforced their title hopes with three wins from three. More importantly, two of those wins were against their biggest challengers, Hampshire Hawks and Somerset. Jamie Smith is the competition’s leading run scorer with 193, 110 more than Ravi Bopara in second place. They have huge depth in bowling, Tom Curran the sixth bowler used in their win against Somerset and Dan Lawrence the seventh. They rolled over the strong Somerset batting line up for just 106.

Despite this loss, Somerset will undoubtedly be in the mix and they enjoyed a good win against last year’s losing finalists Essex, chasing down 194 thanks to 55 off 36 balls from Tom Abell and 44 off 20 from Lewis Gregory. Somerset too have an experienced bowling line up, led by Craig Overton. Last year’s losing finalists Essex have now lost two out of their three matches so far, the other to Gloucestershire, who also have a dangerous bowling attack. In this game it was the two left arm seamers, David Payne and Matt Taylor who did the damage, both capturing four wickets. Gloucestershire lost their other match to Sussex Sharks, who in turn have lost to Glamorgan, leaving seven of the nine teams on two points. This includes the Hawks, who despite the loss to Surrey beat Kent Spitfires with a ball and three wickets to spare, chasing down 166. It is difficult to imagine the Hawks not making the quarter finals.

In the North Group Birmingham Bears are the only side with a 100% record, having enjoyed wins against Durham and Notts Outlaws. The Outlaws were unable to chase down 150, eight of their batters not reaching double figures. The Bears bowling attack has been reinforced by the return of Hasan Ali and is good enough to keep them in a top four spot. The Outlaws have also lost to Northants Steelbacks, the Steelbacks reaching a target of 155 in just 13.2 overs with only two wickets down. The Steelbacks have the experienced duo of David Willey and Bopara in their ranks and have made a strong start. They also defeated Derbyshire off the last ball, but lost to Yorkshire by 29 runs. The Steelbacks and the Vikings are both on four points along with Lancashire Lightning, who seem to have put their poor Championship form behind them, registering comfortable wins against Durham and the Falcons, but losing to Worcestershire in a tight game that went to the last over, the Rapids chasing down 170 with three balls to spare. The Rapids join the Falcons and Leicestershire Foxes on two points. The Foxes beat the Vikings and then lost to the Falcons.

Obviously it is early days in the competition, but as we so often seem to be saying at the moment, Surrey look the side to beat. The Eagles will want to put some wins together and will be favourites when they play Glamorgan on Friday. In the North Group, the Bears are looking good, while the Outlaws will not be used to the position they find themselves.

North Group

PosTeamPlayedWonLostTiedN/RNet RRPoints
1Lancashire Lightning32100+2.6324
2Birmingham Bears22000+1.3234
3Yorkshire Vikings32100+0.9114
4Northamptonshire Steelbacks32100+0.5774
5Leicestershire Foxes21100+1.2882
6Derbyshire Falcons31200-0.8252
7Worcestershire Rapids21100-1.7102
8Notts Outlaws20200-2.1550
9Durham Cricket20200-3.0900

South Group

PosTeamPlayedWonLostTiedN/RNet RRPoints
1Surrey CCC33000+1.3826
2Kent Spitfires21100+2.3962
5Hampshire Hawks21100-0.1052
7Sussex Sharks21100-0.6002
8Somerset CCC21100-1.1642


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