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Leader Short out of the competition, but three of the top ten progress to quarters.
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Three of the PCA Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player Rankings top ten have seen their sides progress to the competition’s quarter-final stage, but long-time leader D’Arcy Short drops out as Durham finished sixth in the North Group.
Short’s all-round contributions have seen him top the 2019 Blast MVP for a number of weeks, but the Australian will play no further part in the competition, along with Babar Azam, Tom Banton and Colin Ackermann, who currently occupy second, third and fourth position respectively.
As a result, fifth-placed Dawid Malan is the highest-ranked player left in the competition who can still control the destination of the 2019 Blast MVP crown.
The Middlesex skipper progressed at the expense of Azam and Banton after a remarkable Friday night run chase against Somerset on their own patch.
Needing a record 226 to win, the Lord’s-based side made the chase look incredibly easy, reaching the required total with three overs and six wickets to spare. Malan set the tone for the innings with a quickfire 41 from 14 balls, before rapid knocks from AB de Villiers (32 from 16) and Eoin Morgan (83 from 29) saw Middlesex qualify at the expense of their opponents.
It’s not the first time Malan has led from the front in this year’s Blast. He is the competition’s third-highest run-scorer, and has claimed two MVP of the Match awards in the process.
His outstanding form has seen him accumulate 126.86 batting MVP points in the competition, and he has also benefited from seven bonus points for captaining the winning side on seven occasions.
The MVP formula was designed to reward match-winning performances, giving a more accurate reflection of the top performers than traditional batting or bowling averages do. Bonus points are awarded for captaining the winning side, taking catches in the field and scoring a high proportion of your team’s runs, amongst other important disciplines.
Although the race for the Blast MVP is still in Malan’s hands, it will nevertheless prove a stiff task to make up the 44-point deficit to leader Short. Malan has averaged 10.89 MVP points-per-game in the 20-over format, and has a maximum of three games remaining to stake his claim.
The second highest-ranked player remaining in the competition is Malan’s Derbyshire Falcons counterpart Billy Godleman.
The big batsman, who has produced with the bat in every format all season, was instrumental in the Falcons’ scintillating run of form that saw them qualify for the quarters with a day of fixtures to spare.
Godleman produced scores of 28 not out, 52 not out and 57 against Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Lancashire as his side won each of those games comfortably to qualify in third position in the North Group.
He has averaged 10.72 points-per-game during the 2019 Blast, meaning he’ll have a good chance to overtake Aaron Finch, Adam Lyth and James Vince in the Rankings during the quarter-finals, and could even challenge for the podium places should his side go all the way to finals day.
The only other member of the Blast MVP top 10 to have progressed to the quarter-final stage is Lancashire Lightning’s Liam Livingstone.
Livingstone has inspired much of the Lightning’s excellent form throughout the competition – no side has won more games than their eight.
The 26-year-old has been incredibly consistent, returning the third-highest batting average and lowest bowling average of any Lancashire player. As a result, his MVP points total has been split almost evenly between batting and bowling, with 63.79 for the former and 54.9 for the latter.
He will hope to move further up the Rankings as his side takes on Essex Eagles at Chester-le-Street on Wednesday 4 September.
Each of Wayne Madsen, Glenn Maxwell, Toby Roland-Jones, Ravi Rampaul, Michael Klinger and Phil Salt could yet have a major impact on the final Blast MVP top ten, with 15 points separating Madsen in eleventh and Salt in nineteenth.
In terms of the Overall MVP, it’s still Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel who occupies the box seat in the race for £10,000 but, with Simon Harmer and Ryan Higgins progressing to the Blast quarter-finals, it remains to be seen who will take to the stage to collect the main prize at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards on Wednesday 2 October.
View the Vitality Blast MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.