T20 Blast: What is it, when is it, and who is in it?
It’s become the background to summer over the last 15 years, and it’s all set to go again as the T20 Blast returns.
This year’s tournament gets underway on Wednesday night, with 18 sides hoping to prevail in September’s final at Edgbaston.
So to get your fully prepared for another two months of scintillating boundary-smashing, wicket-walloping action, we’ve got all the key info right here…
What is the T20 Blast?
The T20 Blast, originally known as the Twenty20 Cup, is the world’s first professional T20 tournament.
It began in 2003, and has become one of the UK’s most popular sporting events. It takes place from early July until mid-September, with 18 teams competing.
The tournament is split into nine-team northern and southern divisions. They’ll play 14 matches each, facing six teams 12 and the other two sides once. The top four teams will progress into the knockout stages.
Eight sides contest the quarter-finals, with the two semi-finals and the final taking place on the same day in a cricketing extravaganza.
Who are the favourites?
The T20 Blast is always a wide-open affair. Hampshire and the reigning champions Nottinghamshire Outlaws share favouritism at 7/1.
Derbyshire Falcons, Durham Jets and Leicestershire Foxes are considered the rank outsiders at 33/1.
Who are the star players?
The T20 features some of the biggest hitters in the game. Surrey boast two of them in Aaron Finch and Jason Roy.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson will turn out for Yorkshire, England all-rounder Moeen Ali captains Worcestershire and Jade Dernbach does likewise for Surrey.
Watch out for the bowlers too. Dale Steyn will be slinging the cork for Hampshire, Peter Siddle for Essex, and Imran Tahir for Durham.
When is it on?
The T20 Blast gets underway on Wednesday night, with three matches taking place.
Fixtures will continue throughout the summer, with evening matches on weekdays and afternoon contests on weekends.
Sky Sports will be showing the action throughout the tournament.
Click here for all our T20 Blast odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication