Fri, 21 Sep 2018
12
Sydney

Only three players in the PCA MVP Blast Rankings Top Ten take part in the Vitality Blast Finals Day and Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory, Sussex's top order batsman Laurie Evans and Lancashire opener Alex Davies all have a chance to hunt down Joe Denly of Kent.

Either Evans or Gregory will get at least two matches when Sussex and Somerset face each other in the second semi-final of the day. Davies has the first opportunity to press his claims when Lancashire face Worcestershire.

Gregory, the Somerset captain, sits on 154 points, 64 off Denly, but has been instrumental in helping Somerset reach county cricket's big day out. He smashed 44 off 15 to power his side to Finals Day and has been a consistent performer with bat and ball throughout the tournament, hitting 321 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 217, the highest in the top 50 run-scorers in the competition.

Coupled with his 17 wickets, he is the highest placed Somerset player in the Blast MVP Rankings and is in third position in the Overall Rankings, behind Denly and Surrey's Rikki Clarke, neither of whom are on show.

Evans has scored 554 runs in the competition and is 35 off Aaron Finch who is the current leading scorer and while it would take a monumental effort for him to pip Denly to the MVP of the Blast, he still has a great chance of overtaking the Australian as the leading run-scorer.

Evans has scored his runs at an average of 79.14 and a phenomenal strike-rate of 138.5, a key factor in the MVP formula as players are attributed more points depending on the scenario of the game.

Davies is likely to be joined in Lancashire's top order by England's Most Valuable Player of the summer, Jos Buttler.

As for Worcestershire, their star has been Pat Brown with the 20-year-old going into Finals Day as the top wicket taker. His 27 scalps at an average of 14 only place him 19th however.

It could be surprising to see Brown not firmly inside the top 10, but he has never scored a T20 run and has only faced six balls in his entire career - another reason for fast bowlers to grumble that despite all their hard work the world is stacked against them

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Attendances rise again

Attendances in the Vitality Blast increased by 3% this season - the fifth time in the last six years that the competition has broken its own attendance record.

Advance tickets for this season's Finals Day also sold out in record time. although in controversial fashion as the four finalists were only allowed an allocation of 500 tickets each, forcing many would-be spectators to complain they would have to seek out ticket resale sites or risk travel on the day and hope for the best.

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