English counties were early adopters of Twenty20 cricket and the Vitality Blast is now a firm fixture within the summer sporting schedule.
|What||Vitality Blast 2024|
|Where||Finals Day is at Edgbaston, Birmingham|
|When||May - July 2024|
|How to watch||Selected matches live on Sky Sports Cricket|
The Vitality Blast 2024 will be played in May, June and July. The Vitality Blast Finals Day used to be held towards the end of the English summer in September but it was brought forward in the calendar to accommodate The Hundred, the 100-ball competition introduced in 2021, which takes place during August.
The Vitality Blast group-stage fixtures are held at the home grounds of the 18 first-class counties around England and Wales.
Finals Day in 2024 will again take place at Edgbaston in Birmingham, which has hosted the semi-finals and finals of the Blast since 2013.
Birmingham Bears, who play their home matches at Edgbaston, won the 2014 final and finished as runners-up to Nottinghamshire Outlaws in 2017.
Cricket fans in the UK can watch selected Vitality Blast group matches on Sky Sports Cricket, which also offers live coverage of selected quarter-finals and all the action on Finals Day.
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 thanks to Jimmy Ormond's 4-11 and a blistering opening stand of 100 between Ian Ward and Ali Brown.
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.
The 2024 Vitality Blast sees the 18 counties divided into two groups. The North Group features Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire while the South Group is made up of Essex, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey and Sussex.
Each county plays 14 group-stage matches, seven at home and seven away, and the top four teams in each group qualify for the quarter-finals. The winners of the last-eight ties advance to Finals Day at Edgbaston, where the two semi-finals and the final will be played.
Somerset beat Essex by 14 runs in the Vitality Blast 2023 final at Edgbaston, defending a total of 145 thanks to excellent bowling from New Zealand internationals Matt Henry (4-24) and Ish Sodhi (3-22).
All four semi-finalists came from the South Group, in which Somerset had finished top after winning 12 of their 14 matches.
The Cidermen beat Surrey by 24 runs in their semi-final after Essex had seen off 2022 winners Hampshire by five wickets in the first game of Finals Day.
Hampshire captain James Vince finished as the leading runscorer in the competition for the second season in a row, racking up 670 runs in 16 innings, and Somerset's Henry was the leading wicket-taker with 31, one ahead of teammate Ben Green.