Following last summer’s shortened Vitality Blast the competition returns to a 14-match group stage competition this summer with the counties split into North and South groups.
Notts Outlaws will bid to defend the title they won at Edgbaston last October when the defeat Surrey by six wickets.
Here are all the key details about the competition.
When will the Vitality Blast start?
This summer’s Vitality Blast will begin on Wednesday 9 June. Champions Notts Outlaws start their title defence on the opening night away to 2018 winners Worcestershire Rapids at New Road in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
What is the format this year?
The Vitality Blast returns to a 14-match group-stage format with the First-Class Counties split into traditional North and South Groups.
Each county will therefore play seven matches at home, and seven matches away, with the top four counties in each group progressing to the quarter-finals.
The quarter-finals will be seeded with the higher-seeded team set to host their quarter-final. So, as an example, the top team in the North Group will host the fourth-ranked team from the South Group in the quarter-finals.
The four winners of the quarter-finals (24-27 August) progress to Finals Day. Finals Day will be staged at Edgbaston on 18 September.
All knockout matches will have a reserve day should that be required.
Can I buy tickets for the Vitality Blast?
Details on how to buy tickets or register your interest for access to tickets for each county can be found here.
General admission tickets went on sale from 1 March and you can buy with confidence thanks to the Covid-19 policies, including refund and rollback details, which are communicated on each county’s website via the link above.
We know how much fans want to get back to the cricket this summer and we continue to work closely with Government so that we can plan ways to safely welcome you back to the Vitality Blast.
Under current Government restrictions, cricket grounds are operating at a reduced capacity for the start of the Vitality Blast, but further restrictions could also be lifted from 21 June at the earliest. Details of the Government’s latest Roadmap plan are available here.
Your safety will remain our priority and Covid-19 updates will be communicated as appropriate so that you can plan to enjoy those long summer nights relaxing with friends while watching world-class cricket this summer.
Which counties are in which group?
North: Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire Falcons, Durham, Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Northamptonshire Steelbacks, Notts Outlaws, Worcestershire Rapids, Yorkshire Vikings.
South: Essex Eagles, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire Hawks, Kent Spitfires, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex Sharks.
How can I watch and follow?
Sky Sports is set to broadcast matches throughout the group stage including four matches over the opening four days of the tournament, which will include Notts Outlaws opening their title defence away to Worcestershire Rapids at New Road. The four quarter-finals are also set to be broadcast on Sky in addition to all the Finals Day action on 18 September.
All Vitality Blast and Royal London Cup fixtures will be available via BBC Local Radio stations with extensive coverage also on 5 Live Sports Extra.
Following last year’s streaming of matches we are also set to offer a full programme of live-streamed (non-broadcast) matches on ECB.co.uk again this year.
As a reminder, here’s where you can follow the Vitality Blast across ECB’s channels:
When is Finals Day and can I buy tickets?
Finals Day will be staged at Edgbaston on Saturday 18 September.
If you don’t already have a ticket then you will have to wait to see if your team reaches Finals Day.
Finals Day is already a sell out after ticket holders from last summer, who were unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions, were given the option to roll their tickets over to this year.
Tickets will be set aside for the members and fans of the counties who qualify for Finals Day. Once the four teams have qualified those First-Class Counties who qualify will decide and communicate how those tickets will be available.