T20 Blast Finals Day preview
Chris Jordan of Sussex celebrates the winning runs during the Vitality T20 Blast match between Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Sussex County Cricket Club at Emirates Riverside, Chester le Street on Tuesday 24th August 2021. (Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The sight of cricket fans across the country scouring the internet in search of the wackiest fancy dress outfits can only mean one thing - T20 Finals Day is back. It will be an all-southern affair for the first time in the competition's history too as Hampshire Hawks, Somerset, Kent Spitfires and Sussex Sharks face off in Birmingham on Saturday.

In the first semi-final Hampshire face Somerset before Kent take on Sussex with a place in the final up for grabs. Ahead of three games which promise to showcase some of the best talent in the county game, it's time to assess each team's chances of bringing home the trophy.

Hampshire Hawks

Both Hampshire and Nottinghamshire Outlaws fans may still be left scratching their heads wondering just how the Hawks managed to reach Finals Day. The Outlaws were coasting to victory in their quarter-final match at Trent Bridge and, even after a catastrophic middle-order collapse, required just three runs to win in the final over before Brad Wheal claimed the final wicket.

Although their squad is not blessed with international experience, Hampshire coach Adrian Birrell has managed to strike the right balance between experience and youth. England batsman James Vince is their star man at the top of the order and capable of dominating some of the best bowlers in the world in this format. Explosive Australian overseas batsman D'arcy Short joins him at the top of the order to make a destructive opening duo.

Leg-spinner Mason Crane is another familiar face in the T20 game and provides the mystery and guile to the Hawks attack. Their man to watch could be 20-year-old Scott Currie, a talented 20-year-old bowling all-rounder who has shot to prominence in this season's competition.

He produced a stellar performance in the Group Stage fixture against Somerset where he claimed a remarkable 4-24. The experience of England all-rounder Liam Dawson and wicketkeeper Lewis McManus add some steel in the middle order for Hampshire who go into the game as the bookmakers' outsiders.


Three years ago you struggled to see a future for Tom Abell in Somerset's T20 side. Yet now, after leading his team to a comprehensive quarterfinal win over Lancashire Lightning by smashing 78* from 45 balls, he looks set to be a key man for Somerset's chances of going all the way on Finals Day.

Abell will be hoping teammate Tom Banton re-recaptures some of the form which has landed him a place in England white-ball squads. Despite smashing a 47-ball ton against Kent Spitfires earlier in the competition, Banton has otherwise struggled to make any sort of score in the colours of Somerset or Welsh Fire in The Hundred.

It has instead been his opening partner Will Smeed, a name who shot to prominence with his performances for Birmingham Phoenix, who has led the way with the bat for the west country side with some breathtaking performances.

Somerset's have an incredible depth in all-rounders with Lewis Gregory, Roelof van der Merwe and youngster Tom Lammonby all key men in a side looking to win the title for the first time since 2005.

Kent Spitfires

14 years on from their last title, could this year be the year for the Spitfires who have arguably the strongest batting lineup of the four teams?

They are boosted by the availability of their captain and wicketkeeper Sam Billings who will be determined to take his boyhood club to the title. He is part of a mouth-watering top-order with the likes of Zak Crawley, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly and Jack Leaning all experienced and proven performers in this format.

The loss of overseas quick Adam Milne, who has spearheaded the attack across various spells at the county, to the IPL is a huge blow to the Spitfires. However, Afghanistan spinner Qais Ahmad, who starred in the inaugural The Hundred, will be available and ready to benefit from playing on a used surface.

Seamer Matt Milnes, the competition's highest wicket-taker whose side have made it through to Finals Day, will lead a Kent attack which could also feature 45-year-old Darren Stevens who continues to prove age is just a number.

Sussex Sharks

With arguably the strongest squad on paper at Finals Day, the Sharks are the favourites to secure the trophy on Saturday. In contrast to their semi-final opponents Kent, Sussex's bowling is definitely their strongest discipline.

George Garton, Tymal Mills and Chris Jordan (on his final swansong for the club before he joins Surrey) form a formidable fast-bowling trio and are supported by the wily Will Beer and youngster Archie Lenham. The latter, who has been dubbed 'The Blast Baby' after making his debut this season aged 16, has produced performances beyond his years and experience.

Lenham has been able to fine-tune his craft alongside Rashid Khan, arguably the best spinner in white-ball cricket in the world, which is sure to have benefitted his game immeasurably. Khan's unavailability for Finals Day due to IPL commitments comes as a massive blow to Sussex who have lost arguably their most tried-and-trusted operator in recent seasons.

The Sharks won't be short of experience, though, with opening batsman Luke Wright and the ever-green all-rounder Ravi Bopara still going strong and contributing. Sussex supporters will be hoping the departing Phil Salt will sign off for the club on a high by re-producing the destructive performances which have earned him international recognition.

The verdict

It's set to be a thrilling Finals Day with four quality teams which all offer different strengths compared to each other.  A key talking point will be how both teams adapt to not only playing on a worn wicket but also under lights as factors like dew on the ball come into play in the final.

The general consensus is Somerset will probably have a little too much quality for Hampshire in the first semifinal but a player of James Vince's quality is capable of changing that on his own.

Although Kent's bowling attack is undoubtedly weakened by the departure of Milne, it will be fascinating to see if Sussex can adapt to life after Rashid Khan.