15th September 2018, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England; Cricket Vitality T20 Blast Finals Day, Worcestershire Rapids versus Lancashire Lightning; Lancashire Lightning celebrate after Zahib Khan captures the key wicket of Moeen Ali (Photo by Alan Martin/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Vitality Blast T20 Finals Day: English Cricket Supremacy Is Up For Grabs

In just over 12 hours, the final matches in the domestic T20 season in England comes to an end, as we enter what is know as “Finals Day”.

The competition sees 3 matches taking place on the same day, the 2 semi-finals and the final, which will be held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham. It bowls off at 11 am local time, with the final scheduled for roughly 7 pm, and we should be in for a treat.

The home side Birmingham Bears, failed to get out of the group stage from their North Division league stage. In order to move forward, it is the top four from both divisions, and Birmingham finished sixth in the league standings. It ensures a completely neutral feel to the day though.

The four teams who are fortunate to have made it this far are Lancashire, Somerset, Sussex and Worcestershire. All except Worcestershire have tasted T20 final day success in the 15 year history since the competition began in 2003. With the English international season now over, after the country’s 4-1 win over the visitors from India, the counties are afforded their English internationals, which in itself, will make for an even more thrilling final tournament.

Despite all the talk of the new “hundred” limited overs competition set to commence in a couple years time, this year’s T20 tournament, has seen an increase in attendances and the tickets for the Finals Day being sold out long in advance. However, the allocation of just 500 tickets for each side has caused considerable controversy.
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Lancashire vs Worcestershire:

The Lancs have experience on their side, being that they have reached this stage several times, have won it as recently as 2015 and their players such as England internationals Jos Butler, Keaton Jennings, Australian all-rounder T20 specialist James Faulkner as well as in form Alex Davies and Matt Parkinson.

However, Worcs will reveal in their “underdog” status, and can rely on the likes of Moeen Ali, South African Chris Morris and bowler Patrick Brown, who’s 27 scalps are the highest in this year’s competition. Unfortunately, they will have to do without their leading run scorer Callum Ferguson, however, the Australian is unavailable for Finals Day.

Who ever comes out on top in this match up, might feel they will have a slight advantage in the final, as they would have had not just a few hours extra rest, but a chance to see their opponents in their semi-final.
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Somerset vs Sussex:

This is a repeat of the 2009 final, when the Sharks defeated the West County side, to win their 1st and so far only T20 title. Sussex’s manager is the former Aussie fast bowler, Jason Gillespie, and it is probably no surprise that the team is based on a very good pace bowling attack.

With the likes of Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan & Mills, they possess an attack that is arguably the best in the tournament. However, they will have to do without Afghan spinner Rashid Khan, who is at the Asia Cup, representing his country, quite farcical that a major final is disrupted like this, but that article is for another day.

Their opponents, Somerset, were the last team to book their place for Finals Day and will be looking to even up the score with Sussex. The clubs have met 10 times in T20’s, with Sussex having won 5 to Somerset’s 4 and 1 game ended in a no result.

In New Zealander Corey Anderson, they have 1 of the most destructive batsman in the game over the last several years, but also have 4 others who have broken through the 300 run mark this season, and are many people’s favourite to take home the crown this year.

Added to the fact that 4 bowlers have gone past 15 wickets, including Jamaican Jerome Taylor and leading wicket-taker, James Overton, they have not just the firepower to build a huge score, but the ability to run through a batting line-up.

The stage is set, the teams are picked and are in Warwickshire, the stadium is sold out and it should be a great day’s cricket!

Long Live T20’s!

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