The Blast T20 competition is back for this season, with the competition starting on August 27th.
All 18 counties will be split into three regional groups, with Finals Day set for October 3rd.
Time to take a look at all 18 counties and their chances ahead in the Blast.
Only net run rate kept the Midland side off the bottom of the North Division last season. This year they will be badly hampered without their overseas spinners Chris Green and Ashton Agar.
Sam Hain is making people look up and listen in county cricket at the moment. Last season he scored over 450 runs in the competition in twelve innings. Since last summer he has been to Australia with the Lions and is a class act.
Henry Brooks was a rare bright spot for the Bears last season with 13 wickets in the competition. Has had his fair share of injuries but when fit is a fine asset to have.
The Bears will look to the experience heads of Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan and spinner Jeetan Patel. If they start firing, then expect the Bears to improve this campaign.
Derbyshire had never reached T20 Finals Day until last season, where they lost to eventual winners Essex. Consistent run scoring from Billy Godleman, Wayne Madsen and Luis Reece helped their campaign last term.
The classy Madsen scored 464 runs along with four half centuries in last seasons Blast. Experienced Godleman backed up Madsen with 453 runs at 41.18.
Leg spinner Matt Critchley is another player to watch out for. The all rounder prospered with the ball last campaign but not the bat, contributing only 94 runs in ten innings.
Derbyshire could well make it through to Finals day again after a promising Bob Willis Trophy campaign.
In a very heavily contested North Group Durham finished sixth last campaign. They were heavily reliant on Australian D’Arcy Short who hit 483 runs, but this year the Aussie has joined Surrey.
New Coach James Franklin will look to local lad Scott Steele to continue his fine form from last season. The 21-year-old scored 369 runs and also took five wickets with his off spin.
Alex Lees looks a more than useful acquisition for Durham. The left hander has already hit a hundred and three half centuries in the Bob Willis Trophy.
Defending Champions looking for more glory
The defending champions will go into the T20 Blast competition very confident of repeating last season’s success.
They got to Finals Day through the hard route after winning only five of their pool matches. However, having battled their way through to the final they defeated Worcestershire in a thrilling final.
Their hero on the day was no less than Simon Harmer. The spinner took three wickets against the Royals and also hit the winning runs to give Essex their first ever T20 title.
Harmer was pivotal in Essex’s success by taking 17 wickets at a low economy rate of just over eight. Dan Lawrence is another fine talent for the Eagles. In 2019 he scored four half centuries and is quality.
Essex will once again be looking for Cameron Delport to continue where he left of in 2019. He contributed over 400 runs for the Eagles including 129 against Surrey off only 49 balls.
Don’t rule out Essex to back up last season’s success, with a long batting line up the Eagles could well be flying high once again.
Glamorgan will be looking for a much-improved display after finishing bottom of the T20 last season.
Despite producing one of the shocks of the competition to defeat Hampshire as there only win, they need to improve.
Missing Marnus Labuschagne and Colin Ingram will be a huge blow for the Welsh side. Captain Chris Cooke will be looking to continue on from his run scoring in the Bob Willis Trophy. Glamorgan welcome back Timm van der Gugten after missing last year’s tournament through injury. The Welsh unit has made an inspiring signing with Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie joining.
Gloucestershire will be looking for home grown talent after the loss of Michael Klinger and Andrew Tye. The West Country side finished in second place in the South Division, but fell short to Derbyshire in the QF’s.
Ian Cockbain topped the averages last season for Gloucester with 277 runs at 34.62. Again the experience head of Cockbain will be required to increase their chances of reaching Finals Day.
All rounder Benny Howell is more than useful to get runs and wickets as he did last season.
Injuries and Travel problems for Hampshire
Injuries and travel restrictions will leave Hampshire with a lot to do in this season’s campaign.
The side will look to James Vince to spearhead their batting after scoring 407 in the tournament last year. Sam Northeast is another old head in the side. Having scored 273 runs in his 12 innings last season.
Hampshire have brought in Scotland’s George Munsey to bolster the batting. Liam Dawson will be missing through injury, with a lot on Mason Crane’s shoulders.
A squad packed full of immense talent could well go the distance this campaign. Wicket keeper Captain Sam Billings is a quality white ball player. However, Kent may not see much of Billings as he is part of England’s T20 squad against Pakistan and Australia.
Alex Blake thrives on white ball cricket. In last years competition he hit 204 runs at a strike rate of 148.90. England’s new No.3 will return for Kent in the Blast. Zak Crawley will enter the competition on the back of a maiden test double century.
Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner will be missing for the Red Rose county as they bid for another Finals Day appearance.
Wicket keeper batsman Alex Davies impressed last season and will be hoping for more of the same this season. Dane Villas will carry much of the burden for runs again.
Leg spinner Matt Parkinson claimed 21 wickets last term but has been struggling with an ankle injury. The involvement of Jos Buttler will be limited but when available will be useful for the later stages.
Leicestershire after winning Blast for fourth time
Three times winners Leicestershire will be looking to get back to winning ways again after a disappointing 2019.
Colin Ackerman- who took 7-18 against Birmingham- is the class act for Leicestershire. This season has been named captain for all formats of the game.
Leicestershire can boast a powerful batting line up that includes Aaron Lilley. The downside for the East Midland side is their bowling attack that looks a bit thin on the ground.
Middlesex came third in the South Division last campaign but will struggle to replicate this.
Having no Eoin Morgan, AB de Villiers and Dawid Malan leaves a huge hole in this side. Over 1,100 runs have departed which will be a big loss.
Nathan Sowter impressed last season with 16 wickets at a decent economy rate. Stevie Eskinazi is among Middlesex’s more experienced batting options. Eskinazi averaged 32 last campaign and Middlesex will once again look for more of the same.
Toby Roland-Jones took the most wickets for Middlesex last season with 19. A player who is very much capable of running through sides.
The arrival of Ireland International Paul Stirling will boost an already impressive batting line up.
Adam Rossington captains the club in red ball cricket but is more than useful in the white ball version of the game.
Josh Cobb is the clubs white ball captain and was man of the match in the 2016 final of the T20 Blast.
Northamptonshire will be aiming for a third title and will be a side that could well get to finals day once again.
Notts will be looking to improve on last seasons semi final loss to Worcestershire in the forthcoming campaign.
Alex Hales is such a key player for Nottinghamshire. Having a wonderful 2019 he hit 418 runs. Harry Gurney picked up 22 wickets last season and will be another player that Notts will rely on for success.
With experienced players Steven Mullaney, Samit Patel and Chris Nash, it’s a surprise Notts have only won this tournament once.
Somerset look to have the side that can challenge
Despite last year’s disappointment, Somerset have the side who could go all the way.
Tom Banton is a quality player who has every shot in the book. The wicket keeper batsman oozes class. How far Somerset progress will depend on his availability for this seasons campaign.
Pakistani Babar Azam is set to re-join the county for a second Blast stint. Captain Lewis Gregory missed a large chunk of last season through injury but is now back fit.
Surrey will look towards their homegrown talent with the likes of Will Jacks and Jamie Smith to prosper this season.
At 35 Liam Plunkett is a canny character in this form of the game. Injury free and raring to go should see Plunkett go well.
Reece Topley on the England fringes looks a great asset for Surrey in this competition. Along with the return of Morne Morkel, Surrey could go well from the South Group.
Sussex came top of the South Group last season with eight wins. Despite losing out to Worcester in the quarter finals they are a side who should be feared.
Opening bowler Tymal Mills focuses purely on this form of the game. Mills was the pick of Sussex’s attack last season with an economy rate of just 6.52.
Sussex have signed former Essex favourite Ravi Bopara this season. Bopara, devastating with the bat and useful with the ball looks an astute signing.
Worcester Rapids won the Blast in 2018 and reached the final last year. They have one of the best balanced T20 sides in the competition.
Hamish Rutherford is one of a few overseas players in the competition. Pat Brown is a magnificent bowler at the death. Worcester are a side that enjoys chasing and can set imposing targets.
They have a strong seam line up, strong batting and look the act to beat.
Main problem for the Yorkshire side is will Joe Root, Adil Rashis, Dawid Malan, David Willey and Jonny Bairstow feature for them.
All are likely to feature for England in their forthcoming internationals. Losing these types of players will severely hamper Yorkshire’s chances of lifting the trophy.
The top order has plenty of experience and quality with Adam Lyth a very useful player to have.