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2021 Vitality Blast Finals Day Preview

THE MATCH

Somerset make the trip to Edgbaston for 2021 Vitality Blast Finals Day this weekend.

Somerset take on Hampshire Hawks in the opening semi-final at 11am.

The second semi-final between Kent Spitfires and Sussex Sharks will begin at 2:30pm.

The winning semi-finalists will then clash for the trophy from 6:45pm.

HOW CAN I KEEP UP TO DATE?

You can keep up to date using our dedicated Match Centre via this website and on our Twitter feed.

Vitality Blast Finals Day is also being broadcast live on Sky Sports.

In addition to this, a report on the day’s play along with quotes will be posted on this website.

HEAD TO HEAD

Somerset and Hampshire have clashed on 20 occasions in T20 cricket. Somerset have come out on top 12 times, Hampshire have won seven times, one match was tied and there have been three abandonments.

The highest team total in the series for Somerset is 220 for four at Taunton in 2010, while for Hampshire 216 for five in the same game.

The highest individual innings for Somerset is 102 not out by Babar Azam at the Ageas Bowl in 2019, while for Hampshire it is 85 by Tom Alsop in 2009 at the same venue.

The best bowling for Somerset is five for 15 by Jerome Taylor at the Cooper Associates County Ground in 2018, while for Hampshire it is five for 17 by Liam Dawson at at the Ageas Bowl in 2016.

TEAM NEWS

Craig Overton, Jack Leach and Josh Davey return to the squad, and the starting XI will be named from the following group: Lewis Gregory, Tom Abell, Tom Banton, Jack Brooks, Josh Davey, Marchant de Lange, Lewis Goldsworthy, Ben Green, James Hildreth, Tom Lammonby, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Will Smeed, Roelof van der Merwe and Max Waller.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Ahead of Finals Day, Somerset Head Coach, Jason Kerr said: “It’s an exciting weekend and it’s a showpiece occasion in the season. We’ve played some unbelievably good cricket in the competition this year and it’s important that we don’t forget that.

“We are very aware of Hampshire’s strengths, and they have some quality players. It’s important that we concentrate on what we can control. Our performance in the quarter-final was a really comprehensive one and the lads will take a huge amount of confidence from that. We’re very clear on how we want to play our T20 cricket now, and that’s something that’s evolved throughout this campaign.

“Everything that we’ve been through in the last few weeks will ultimately make us a stronger unit. You learn from your successes but I think you learn more from your disappointments. We’ve had a few of those over the years and a few of the lads have experienced that. For others, Saturday will be their first taste of a final and it’s really important for them to enjoy the experience, embrace the atmosphere, take it all in and learn from it.

“Finals Day is a great occasion and it’s one that we will make sure we enjoy.”

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

If you are traveling to Vitality Blast Finals Day, everything you need to know is outlined in the following comprehensive spectator guide:

SPECTATOR GUIDE

THE OPPOSITION

Somerset Media Intern, Ben Redwood has spent this week casting his eye over the other three teams who will be competing for the trophy.

Here are his findings!

Hampshire Hawks

Somerset vs Hampshire at T20 Finals Day? We’ve seen that before!

This fixture is steeped in Finals Day folklore. From the 2010 final where Somerset could have run out the injured Dan Christian when he ran despite having a runner, or the 2011 semi-final where Alfonso Thomas won Somerset a super over. This fixture really has had it all.

Coach: Adi Birrell

Captain: James Vince

Blast History: Winners 2010 and 2012

Leading Run scorer: James Vince – 371 runs (Average 33.72, SR 138.43)

Leading Wicket Taker: Scott Currie – 17 wickets (Economy 7.92)

Key man: James Vince – After helping Sydney Sixers win the Australian Big Bash, the Hawks skipper will be desperate to repeat that success on home soil. He is their leading run scorer and scored his first international hundred this year in England’s victory over Pakistan at Edgbaston. On the eye, he is one of the best to watch on the county circuit.

Flies under the radar: Joe Weatherly – The Hampshire born right hand bat has been in fine form for the Hampshire Hawks this term. He has scored 339 runs at an average of 33.90 (SR: 141.84).

Best player under 24: Tom Prest – The exciting 18-year-old batsman scored 44 in their nail-biting quarter-final victory over the Nottinghamshire Outlaws.

2021 Head-to-Head: Somerset were victorious by seven runs when the two sides faced off at the Cooper Associates County Ground in June. Tom Banton (77) and Will Smeed (64 not out) took Somerset to a respectable total of 172 for nine. Hampshire looked on course for victory, but the loss of New Zealand international Colin de Grandhomme changed the game completely as captain Lewis Gregory showed his class by calmly steering Somerset to victory in a tense last over.

Hampshire were victorious at the Ageas Bowl by 75 runs, after Somerset were bowled out for 100.

The story of their Blast: Hampshire qualified out of the South Group after winning their last five matches. They went into the last group game in sixth place, needing Surrey and Gloucestershire to lose, as well as a win themselves. An emphatic six wicket win with 42 balls to spare paved their way into the quarter-finals. The Hawks knocked Blast holders Nottinghamshire Outlaws out at the quarter-final stage in a low scoring thriller. Hampshire defended a measly score of 125 for nine to win, bowling Nottinghamshire out for 123 with two to spare.

Kent Spitfires

 2021 saw Somerset do the double over the Kent Spitfires. The Spitfires will contest their first Finals Day since 2009 – where they were knocked out in the semi-finals by Somerset after Marcus Trescothick inspired his side to a seven wicket win.

Coach: Matt Walker

Captain: Sam Billings

Blast History: 2007 Winners

Leading Run scorer: Daniel Bell-Drummond – 392 (Average of 35.63 – SR 156.80)

Leading Wicket Taker: Matt Milnes – 18 wickets (Economy 8.25, Average 16.66).

Key man: Sam Billings – The talented wicketkeeper batsman is one of the most dangerous in the business. Kent are also blessed with a fantastically strong batting line up.

Flies under the radar: Jordan Cox – the 20-year-old batsman has 309 runs at an average of 51.50.

Best Player Under 24: Ollie Robinson – Hopes are high for Tawanda Muyeye, but Robinson has been the brightest spark on and off the field so far, embracing the chance to open in red ball cricket.

2021 Head-to-Head: Somerset did the double over a very talented Kent side in the South Group. In the first game at the Taunton, Somerset scored 204 for seven (Abell 68, Goldsworthy 48) and managed to bowl the Spitfires out for 157.

The away fixture in Canterbury was the complete performance. Disciplined Somerset bowling restricted the Spitfires to 168, with Lewis Gregory showcasing his talents live on Sky Sports with a brilliant four for 27. However, it was Tom Banton who stole the show with 107 not out from 51 balls. He was well supported by Devon Conway (51 not out) as Somerset breezed to victory in the mist at Canterbury by ten wickets.

The story of their Blast: A top order of Zac Crawley, Daniel Bell Drummond, Joe Denly and Sam Billings played an important role in Kent finishing top of the South Group. They were well supported by Kiwi Adam Milne and spin bowler Qais Ahmed to form a formidable team. The Spitfires convincingly overcame the Birmingham Bears by 21 runs in the quarter-final to book their place at Finals Day.

 Sussex Sharks

If Somerset do face the Sharks at Edgbaston, they will be looking to avenge their semi-final defeat in 2018. Sussex are looking to win their first Blast since 2009 when they beat Justin Langer’s Somerset in the final at Edgbaston.

Coach: James Kirtley

Captain: Luke Wright

Blast History: Winners 2009

Leading Run Scorer: Luke Wright – 360 runs (Average 45.00, SR 153.19)

Leading Wicket Taker: Tymal Mills, 14 wickets (Economy 7.96, Average 14.78)

Key man: Tymal Mills – the left arm bowler has worked his way back into the England squad for the IT20 World Cup next month. Mills mixes the ability of bowling at 90mph-plus with an array of skills that make him one of the best death bowlers in world cricket. He has taken 14 wickets in eight Blast games this year at an economy rate of 7.96. His death bowling partnership with England’s Chris Jordan is formidable and a key part of the Sharks success.

Flies under the radar: 36-year-old Luke Wright still has the capabilities of taking games away from the opposition with his hard hitting. The IT20 World Cup winner and seasoned franchise player goes big from the start. He’s the Sharks’ highest run scorer this term and his opening partnership with England international Phil Salt is key to the Sharks getting runs on the board.

Best Player Under 24: George Garton – He was outstanding in 2020 with 14 wickets and the best economy rate of Sussex’s seamers. This term, the left armer has taken nine wickets in six matches at an economy of 7.50. His performances have earned him an IPL contract with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. 17-year-old Archie Lenham is a mightily impressive talent too. The young leg-spin bowler has taken 11 wickets in 10 games at an economy rate of 7.54.

2021 Head-to-Head: Despite being in the same group, Somerset have not faced Sussex in the 2021 Vitality Blast. Our fixture at the 1st Central County Ground Hove was postponed due to rain.

The story of their Blast: Sussex were unfortunate that five of their games were curtailed due to the adverse weather, and that looked like it may have a huge detrimental impact on their campaign. However, they managed to get out of the group in third place. Their star-studded line up lost just three games (lowest in South Group) in the group stages. At the quarter-final stage, they overcame the Yorkshire Vikings by five wickets with two balls to spare. Afghanistan superstar Rashid Khan smashed 27 runs from nine balls to miraculously win the game for his side. After losing the final in 2018, they will be looking to go one better with their team full of international talent.

VITALITY BLAST MASCOT RACE

Back Stumpy and support a good cause.

The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is set to take centre stage on tomorrow with the annual Mascot Race headlining the fundraising activities.

You can support Stumpy during this year’s Vitality Blast Mascot Race by donating £5 to the Trust to be in with a chance of winning 2022 Blast tickets.

On Saturday, mascots from up and down the country will be limbering up to take part in the prestigious annual race, but this time there’s a difference: they will be raising money to support those who need it most.

Getting involved is simple. Just text STUMPY to 70085 to donate £5 (not including the cost of one text message at your standard network rate) to the Trust and you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win tickets for next season’s Vitality Blast.

Neutral fans can also support Twinkle, the official mascot of the ECB’s All Stars Cricket programme, by texting TWINKLESTAR to 70085 to be in with a chance of winning tickets to see a team of their choice.

Participants may enter as many times as they wish, and the winners will be announced on social media on Monday 20 September, when the Trust will also contact them directly.

In addition, supporters will be able to take part in an online auction, where you can bid on items including a bat signed by the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup winning side and a limited edition signed photograph of Ben Stokes following his Headingley heroics later that same year.

You can also text to donate to help the charity continue its life-changing – and often life-saving – work or visit the charity’s dedicated JustGiving page to make a one-off donation.

Visit the Trust’s website to find out more information on the charity’s wide-ranging work.

NEXT MATCH

Somerset’s next match begins on Tuesday September 21st when we take on Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the LV= Insurance County Championship.

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground