T20 Blast Finals Day – How they got there and who to look out for
With ‘The Hundred’ just around the corner, there was no better time for the T20 Blast to prove what a fantastic competition it still is. Babar and Banton, AB and Morgan, and Moeen magic for Worcestershire. All the innovation, variation and athleticism with sell-out crowds up and down the country – this was arguably the greatest T20 season yet. Just the small matter of finals day to come.
Joe Denly’s catch was absolutely ridiculous. The standard of catches these days is phenomenal. Even at county cricket, you see wordlies on a regular basis. Ed Barnard doing things like this as standard. pic.twitter.com/5wfeq2SquR
— Doc (@DocBrownCricket) August 19, 2019
Here’s a review of how the finalists got there and what we can expect of them in the showpiece end to a wonderful summer of cricket on September 21 at Edgbaston.
Semi-finals: Nottinghamshire Outlaws v Worcestershire Rapids; Derbyshire Falcons v Essex Eagles
4th in South Group – Won 5 – 15 points
Beat Lancashire by 6 wickets in quarter-final
One to watch: Dan Lawrence
Perhaps fortunate to have made the quarter-finals, the Eagles came to form at the right time. A vital win against Kent in the last group game set up a quarter-final against the much-fancied Lancashire Lightning, where the experience and stroke play of Ryan ten Doeschate and Ravi Bopara fired Essex to victory. South African T20 specialist Cameron Delport is a real threat opening the batting and 22-year-old Englishman Dan Lawrence will be hoping to continue his fine form with the bat and push forward his claim for an international cap. Aussie spinner Adam Zampa is the danger man with ball in hand.
2nd in North Group – Won 6 – 16 points
Beat Middlesex by 10 wickets in quarter-final
One to watch: Alex Hales
Chris Nash and Alex Hales bludgeoned their team to victory in the quarter-final. Hales can clear any boundary with ease and perhaps feels he has something to prove after his omission from the World Cup squad – a man for the big stage, there will be high expectations of him at Edgbaston.
Absolute filth from Alex Hales.pic.twitter.com/eUI9nDdlCA
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) September 5, 2019
Harry Gurney is one of the best bowlers around in the shorter format – as his worldwide franchise contracts prove – and Dan Christian is an excellent captain who’s seen it all.
3rd in North group – Won 7 – 16 points
Beat Gloucestershire by 7 wickets in quarter-final
One to watch: Ravi Rampaul
An impressively comprehensive defeat of Gloucestershire in the quarter-final means Derbyshire have a place at finals day for the first time in their history. Two veterans of the county game, Billy Godleman (444) and Wayne Madsen (447) have scored the vast majority of runs for the Falcons, but their success this season is primarily down to the competition’s leading wicket-taker Ravi Rampaul. The 34-year-old has 22 wickets at an average of 15 and an economy rate of just over six runs per over. It’s over four years since his last international appearance, but the West Indian is bowling better now than ever before.
4th in North group – Won 6 – 15 points
Beat Sussex by 8 wickets in quarter-final
One to watch: Moeen Ali
England’s loss has been Worcestershire’s gain. Had Moeen Ali not returned to captain his county for the end of the Blast campaign, the Rapids would not be at finals day. Five games, eight wickets and 312 runs – including a stunning 121 not out in the quarter-final.
An equally exceptional way to win the game as Moeen Ali smashes his best-ever T20 score, finishing unbeaten on 121, to propel @WorcsCCC to Finals Day.
Reaction live on Sky Sports The Ashes and Sky Sports Mix now. pic.twitter.com/tiZZdwRtBY
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 6, 2019
Joe Root has claimed he is still the right man to lead England, but he could learn a lot from Moeen’s captaincy. In the mould of Kane Williamson and World Cup winning skipper Eoin Morgan, his calm demeanour allows his young side to play fearless cricket. Pat Brown’s slower balls are a nightmare for any batsmen, Ed Barnard is one of the canniest all-rounders around, Ben Cox is arguably the best gloveman in the county game and Riki Wessels can provide further fire-power with the bat.
Paul Collingwood expects James Anderson and Stuart Broad to excel in the Ashes
Anderson and Broad’s combined age at the start of that series will be 74.
New Zealand stars Devon Conway and Martin Guptill move up in T20I Rankings
Stoinis, Southee, Santner and Sodhi among others to advance in men’s weekly update after first two matches of New Zealand-Australia series.
England axing tough to take but it was ‘best option’, admits Dom Bess
Bess is set to return to the team for the fourth Test against India
Tom Banton tests positive for coronavirus at the Pakistan Super League
The England and Somerset batsman is isolating in Pakistan.
Virat Kohli refuses to accept pitch is to blame for England’s two-day defeat
Kohli believes poor batting by both sides resulted in the game being over inside two days.
Joe Root wants England to free themselves from fear in fourth Test against India
The tourists will be hoping to level the series at 2-2 when they start the final match in Ahmedabad.
Zak Crawley vows England will be more proactive in battle against India’s spin
Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel have run riot in helpful conditions.
Dale Steyn heaps praise on Pakistan trio, prefers PSL over IPL
Record South African fast bowler Dale Steyn is full of praise for Pakistan players Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Babar Azam.
Chris Gayle sets sights on third T20 World Cup title
West Indies veteran Chris Gayle has set his sights on winning a third T20 World Cup when he makes his return to international cricket.