Saturday 15th September 2018

Event of the Day: Vitality T20 Blast Finals Day

Our event of the day is the semi-finals and subsequent final of the Vitality T20 Blast at Edgbaston in Birmingham. A fantastic summer of T20 culminates with today’s bumper pack of cricketing action. The day kicks off with Worcestershire Rapids versus Lancashire Lightning, followed by Sussex Sharks against Somerset. Both semi-final winners will then battle it out to be crowned Vitality T20 Blast champions. Three of today’s four semi-finals have previously won the T20 Blast, with just Worcester going for their maiden title. The Rapids impressively topped the North group during the group stages, leading today’s opponents Lancashire by two points. However, Lancashire go into the semi-finals as many people’s favourites. They possess real batting quality in the shape of Jos Butler, who was in sparkling form during England’s test victory over India. Captain Liam Livingstone is making his return from injury, and will be desperate to leave his mark on the T20 tournament. Worcester boast the ever dependable Moeen Ali in their batting ranks. He will have to step up after key man Callum Ferguson, an integral part of their table-topping group stage campaign, returned to Australia. 
The second semi-final is an equally intriguing affair. Somerset sailed through the group stages, racking up an impressive ten wins on their way to first place in the South group. Sussex found their form at just the right time, winning their final three matches to qualify in third place. Somerset won by three wickets when the two sides met in early August. However, Sussex’s gradual improvement as the Blast has progressed means a tight match is predicted. Their strength lies with their bowlers. Tymal Mills, Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan will all cause Somerset problems. They will need to be at the top of their game to halt the lethal Somerset batters, who hit over 200 runs four times during the group stages. Expect a real party atmosphere at one of the highlights of the cricket calendar.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Rugby Championship fixture between New Zealand and South Africa at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington. New Zealand will be looking to make it four wins on the spin, whilst South Africa will be hoping to bounce back from consecutive defeats. In the AFL finals series, Collingwood take on the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the Giants emerging victorious when the sides last met in March. Additional finals series action in Australia comes from the NRL, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs face the St. George Illawarra Dragons at the ANZ Stadium. Just two points separated the sides in the NRL ladder, so a tightly fought contest is forecast. Meanwhile in Rugby Union, Northampton Saints host Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership. Elsewhere in the UK, the meeting between Tottenham and Liverpool at Wembley is the highlight of the Premier League schedule. Bundesliga action comes from the Allianz Arena, where Bayern Munich face Bayern Leverkusen. In Ligue 1, Monaco travel to Toulouse, and in the Eredivisie, Ajax host Groningen. Barcelona are away to Real Sociedad in La Liga, whilst Rangers are at home to Dundee in the SPL. FC Dallas will look to extend their lead at the top of the Western Conference in the MLS, as they welcome Columbus Crew to the Toyota Stadium. Elsewhere in the States, the Atlanta Braves play the Washington Nationals in an MLB game at SunTrust Park. The USA are in action in the Davis Cup semi-finals, as they take on Croatia, whilst France play Spain. On the WTA World Tour, it’s day 6 of the Coupe Banque National and the Japan Women’s Open. LPGA action comes from the Evian Championship in France, whilst the European Tour stops off in Holland for the KLM Open. The West Indies play South Africa in Women’s ODI Cricket and there’s World Championship action in VolleyballRowing and Triathlon. Qualifying for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix gets underway, and the William Hill St Leger Festival continues at Doncaster Racecourse. Stage 20 of the Vuelta a España sees riders tackle the final mountain stage of the tour.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by ECB Cricket

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