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All-rounder way out in front atop the format-specific ranking.
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Durham all-rounder D’Arcy Short comfortably leads the PCA’s Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player Rankings having made an electric start to the 2019 competition.
The Australian is sitting pretty on 108.13 MVP points at the summit, over 25 clear of Kent bowler Hardus Viljoen in second. Short’s feat is particularly impressive given that under 18 points currently separates second from tenth.
With Durham in contention for a second consecutive top two finish in the North Group, Short has been absolutely crucial to Chester-le-Street-based side’s success this season.
Opening the batting for his side, the 28-year-old has made 245 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 162.25 – the second highest figure of the nine players to have made at least 200 runs so far in this year’s competition. His effort’s account for nearly 30% of his side’s total runs during the same period.
Although Short is generally considered to be a batting all-rounder, he has also made a telling contribution with the ball, with every single one of his eight wickets so far being that of a top six batsman.
Unlike Short, second-placed Viljoen is undoubtedly a bowling specialist. Alongside Worcestershire Rapids’ Wayne Parnell, he is one of only two frontline bowlers currently occupying a Blast MVP top 10 spot, although a number of all-rounders do make the grade.
With 73.18 MVP bowling points currently to his name, Viljoen has comfortably been the most successful bowler in this year’s competition according to the MVP algorithm. Derbyshire’s Ravi Rampaul is second with 59.05.
Unsurprisingly, the South African is also the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 14 at 12.85. Perhaps as importantly, he has also returned an excellent economy rate of 7.1. His miserly bowling is perhaps best illustrated by the fact the Surrey could only take 10 runs from his two overs last week, despite each side only having seven overs to bat in a rain-affected game.
Viljoen’s form, and his opening bowling partnership with Adam Milne (8 wickets at 22.12) in particular, has been key to the Spitfires’ success this season. The squad have won six from seven, helping them to the top of a strong South Group.
The only other side that is currently looking nailed on for a semi-final berth is Lancashire Lightning. No team can match the Lightning’s feat of claiming victory in every one of their completed fixtures so far.
Much of the Manchester-based team’s success has been down to the form of skipper Liam Livingstone. Currently tenth in the Blast MVP, he has contributed almost exactly evenly with bat and ball, earning 31.53 MVP points for the former and 30.22 for the latter.
The 26-year-old has also earned four bonus points for captaining the winning side on the same number of occasions.
The MVP formula was purpose-built to reward match-winning performances, hence the extra weight given to players who captain the winning team. Bonus points are also awarded for scoring quickly, taking top order wickets and claiming catches in the field, amongst other important disciplines.
Although yet to make his mark on the 2019 Blast MVP, Sussex Sharks’ Danny Briggs had a week to remember after becoming the all-time leading wicket-taker in domestic T20s in England and Wales.
At just 28 years old, Briggs achieved the feat during his side’s clash with Gloucestershire on Sunday as James Bracey became his 157th victim in the competition. He overtakes former teammate Yasir Arafat, with 114 of his scalps having come for Hampshire and the remaining 43 for the Sharks.
Another veteran of the English domestic scene re-took the lead in the race for the £10,000 prize awarded to the Overall MVP at the end of the season.
With Lewis Gregory sitting out Somerset’s last two games due to injury, Jeetan Patel’s two wickets for Birmingham Bears in the same period have been enough for him to move back to the summit for now.
The lead has now switched between the pair three times already this season, and the race for one of the most coveted individual awards in English domestic cricket looks certain to go down to the wire.
View the Vitality Blast MVP Rankings here.
View the Overall MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.