The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed that this summer’s shortened domestic season will culminate with Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston on October 3.
The fixture schedules for the Vitality Blast and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy were announced on Wednesday (August 12) with the final of the women’s 50-over competition to be staged on September 26.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said, “After a challenging few months it’s really exciting that we can look forward to three domestic finals at the end of the summer. It promises to be a thrilling climax to the season, and something members, fans and everyone involved in the game can look forward to.
The third piece of domestic silverware will also be up for grabs during the final week of the season with the five-day Bob Willis Trophy final scheduled to be held at Lord’s from September 23.
The Vitality Blast will begin on August 27 with defending champions Essex Eagles at home to Middlesex at the Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford.
“The prestige of a Lord’s final for the Bob Willis Trophy will provide an even greater incentive for the First-Class Counties, and it’s pleasing to see so many people watching the high-class entertainment via the enhanced live streams the counties have invested in. Finals Day at Edgbaston will also ensure the men’s county cricket finishes the season on a high,” Harrison added.
Yorkshire Vikings will host Notts Outlaws at Emerald Headingley on the opening night as the first of 10 Vitality Blast group-stage matches that will be televised by Sky.
The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy will begin two days later with all eight teams to play twice over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The special-edition competition has been created for this summer only to ensure women’s domestic cricket is played despite the challenges of COVID-19 and underlines the ECB’s commitment to professionalise the domestic game for women.
“I’m also proud that we will stage the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in honour of a true great of our game both on and off the field. Rachael’s determination to give women’s cricket the platform it deserves is a legacy that must endure through these difficult times as we continue the journey to professionalise the women’s game. This summer’s tournament will be another important step on that path,” Harrison said.
“The fact we’ve been able to get so much domestic cricket played this summer owes to the collaborative efforts of the county network and their willingness to find a way to get the game on in the safest way possible for all involved. There will be many more challenges ahead, but the unity and spirit shown during this summer has been a tribute to the county network as we work together to grow our sport.”
The Vitality Blast has been regionalised into the same three groups used in the Bob Willis Trophy with each county set to play 10 group-stage matches behind closed doors. The quarter-finals will all be played on October 1.
Picture Courtesy- ECB Media