Plenty of people up and down the country, and even worldwide, choose to enhance their experience of the English domestic game by participating in various fantasy cricket leagues. What else are you going to do to pass the time in the office?
It can be quite hard to keep track of everything though, especially since popular fantasy providers (like Telegraph Fantasy Cricket, which is who we will be using as our resource) include both divisions of the County Championship as well as the One-Day Cup.
So we’ve decided to launch a weekly service to help you keep up to date with all the goings on, starting with a look back at the first two rounds of action in the four-day format.
The final of the One-Day Cup is all set, with Somerset ready to take on Hampshire at Lord’s after they beat Nottinghamshire and Lancashire respectively.
For those who are bothered about my own personal fortunes this season so far, I was over 1,500 points behind my Dad, and the gap is now under 1,000. The comeback is on.
Without further ado, here are the top performers from week six…
Azhar Ali (Somerset)
Azhar’s week didn’t start in ideal fashion as the Pakistan international was dismissed for just two in Somerset’s final group game against Surrey, but he responded well. Scores of 29 against Worcestershire and a 72 in the semi-final vs. Notts helped, but it was his match-winning 5-34 with the ball against the Pears (plus one wicket against the Outlaws) that really bumped up his points score.
You absolute magician @AzharAli_!! ✨👌🎩
— Somerset Cricket 🏏 (@SomersetCCC) May 10, 2019
Keaton Jennings (Lancashire)
His England career may have been doomed before it really began, but Keaton Jennings is in superb form for Lancashire. He scored an eye-catching 96 in the quarter-finals against Middlesex in what was a huge win for the Red Rose, and then chipped in with 63 against Hampshire in their semi-final defeat. Oh, and he took a catch for good measure.
James Vince (Hampshire)
Although Hampshire have only played one game in the last seven days, that being their win over Lancashire, James Vince makes it in after his score of 79 and the three catches he took. Not a bad outing.
Steven Croft (Lancashire)
An impressive 68 from Steven Croft helped Lancashire to a score of 304 in their quarter-final win over Middlesex, and though he could only add 10 against Hampshire he did manage to take a couple of catches to bump him into the top four spots.
Tom Banton (Somerset)
Banton started his week with a handy knock of 53 against Surrey, before going on to score a stunning 112 against Worcestershire in the quarters and 59 in the semi-finals against Notts. A return of 224 runs in three games is certainly not bad going for the opener.
Gareth Berg (Hampshire)
As mentioned, Hampshire only played one game all week, but Gareth Berg is still the top all-rounder after his stunning performance in their semi-final against Lancashire. He took 5-26 to rip through the Lancs middle order, and his 18 not-out helped steer his side over the finish line.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) May 12, 2019
Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
He’s just absolutely on fire, isn’t he? Mahmood took 4-38 as he decimated Middlesex’s top order to begin the week, then took 3-46 against Hampshire. He now has 28 wickets in his last 10 List-A matches. Some talent, this lad.
James Harris (Middlesex)
It was a big week for James Harris as he begun by taking 4-65 against Kent in their final group game, and then remarkably he led Middlesex’s counter-charge against Lancs in the quarter-final, scoring 117 off 108 balls as his side fell just short of their 305 target.
Craig Overton (Somerset)
We’re beginning to run out of superlatives for Craig Overton, who took 3-48 against Surrey to kick start a huge week for his side. The 25-year-old took one wicket against Worcestershire and added a handy 25* with the bat, before scoring 20* against Notts and taking two more wickets.
Three players have passed 500 runs in the RLOD Trophy:
Billy Godleman, Steven Croft and James Vince
Five bowlers have taken 20 or more wickets:
Saqib Mahmood, Nathan Sowter, Wayne Parnell, Craig Overton and Kyle Abbott
Nice mix of stalwarts, Kolpaks and maybe internationals
— Tim Mansfield (@tjm_1966) May 13, 2019
Jake Ball (Notts)
Ball took two wickets against Northamptonshire at the County Ground as the Outlaws got over the line with a wicket to spare in a thriller, and despite getting a pasting in the semi-final against Somerset, the 28-year-old did his part as he took 4-62.
Steve Smith couldn’t get a hundred today. The Badger could.
England get Steve Smith out for just 80. Great success.
England are utterly infuriating, they really are.
Joe Root > Don Bradman. That’s just maths.
Joe Denly with more runs in a day than Warner in the whole series there.
Changes for both teams ahead of The Oval.
England’s Test-match batting is broken. Time to get back to basics.
The WTC scoring system is stupid, but the fix is easy. Get it done.
The Badger lets off steam.