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Vitality Blast: Date, venues, history & how to watch

The original English county cricket T20 tournament remains a fans' favourite and the Vitality Blast is now a firm fixture within the summer sporting schedule.

Vitality Blast Outright

Vitality Blast dates

The 2024 Vitality Blast tournament will take place between May and September. The group stage will run from 30th May to 29th July. 

The quarter-finals will be played from 3rd September to 6th September while the semi-finals and finals will be played on Finals Day at Edgbaston on 14th September.

Vitality Blast times

Start times vary in the group stages with some matches being played in the afternoon, while other day/night matches will be played in evening slots. 

The afternoon games in the group stage can range from noon to 16:00 while the evening matches will begin from 17:30 to 19:00.

On Finals Day, the semi-finals are scheduled to start at 11:00 and 14:30 before the final at 18:45.

Vitality Blast teams

The 18 county cricket teams are split into two groups, although some are known by slightly different names, such as Warwickshire becoming the Birmingham Bears for this competition. 

Some teams have used several nicknames over the years and some now dispense with a suffix altogether.

Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire Falcons, Durham Cricket, Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Notts Outlaws, Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Worcestershire Rapids and Yorkshire Vikings will compete in the North Group.

The South Group consists of Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire Hawks, Kent Spitfires, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey and Sussex Sharks. 

Vitality Blast venues

Most Vitality Blast matches are played at the main county ground for each team, with the need for floodlights to be used in day/night matches reducing the opportunities for them to move games to other venues, although some alternative grounds can still act as the host venue. 

Derbyshire are playing at Queen's Park, Chesterfield, as well as in Derby, Middlesex are hosting a match at Radlett in addition to their Lord's dates and Gloucestershire have a home match in Cheltenham in addition to their Bristol fixtures.

The semi-finals and the final will all be played on a single day at Edgbaston in Birmingham on September 14th.

Vitality Blast how to watch

Cricket fans in the UK can watch selected Vitality Blast group matches on Sky Sports Cricket, which also offers live coverage of the quarter-finals and all the action on Finals Day.

Vitality Blast history

The 2024 Vitality Blast will be the 22nd edition of the competition, which was known as the Twenty20 Cup when it was launched in 2003. 

It was the world's first professional Twenty20 tournament and Surrey were the inaugural champions, beating Warwickshire by nine wickets in the final at Trent Bridge.

Twenty20 cricket is a volatile format and that is reflected by the fact that 13 of the 18 counties claimed at least one Vitality Blast title in the first 20 years of the competition. 

The most successful teams in the history of the Vitality Blast are Leicestershire, champions in 2004, 2006 and 2011, and Hampshire, who lifted the trophy in 2010, 2012 and 2022. 

Kent, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire have each been Blast winners on two occasions and Somerset won their second title in 2023, having also lifted the trophy in 2005.

All four semi-finalists came from the South Group last year with Somerset having finished top after winning 12 of their 14 matches. They beat Surrey in their semi-final and Essex in the final.

Hampshire's James Vince finished as the leading runscorer in the competition for the second season in a row, racking up 670 runs in 16 innings, while Somerset's Matt Henry was the leading wicket-taker with 31. 

The competition's all-time top runscorer is James Vince of Hampshire with 5,547 runs from 2010 to 2023, while Danny Briggs has taken the most wickets with 219 for a combination of Birmingham, Hampshire and Sussex since 2010.

The highest total in the competition was Somerset's 265-5 against Derbyshire in 2022 while the lowest total was Glamorgan's 44 all out against Surrey in 2019.

Vitality Blast format

The 18 counties are divided into two groups as noted above and each team plays 14 group-stage matches, seven at home and seven away.

Two points are awarded for a win, one for a tie or no-result and none for a loss and the top four teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals with net run-rate used as a tie-breaker if necessary.

The winners of the last-eight ties advance to Finals Day at Edgbaston, where the two semi-finals and the final will be played.

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