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Duo confirmed as Blast and Overall MVP winners following Finals Day.
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Will Jacks was named as this season’s PCA Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player following the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday evening, whilst Simon Harmer was simultaneously confirmed as the winner of the cross-format Overall MVP award.
Jacks, still only 21, has produced consistently excellent performances throughout this year’s 20-over tournament, finishing with 177.8 MVP points at an average of 13.7 points-per-game to his name to win the race for the £2,500 winner’s cheque and the Vitality Blast Player of the Year trophy.
Two Vitality Blast semi-finalists, namely Gloucestershire’s Ian Cockbain and Lancashire’s Alex Davies, finish a distant second and third with 119 and 118.5 MVP points respectively after Jacks had led the MVP since his side’s victory over Hampshire on 18 September.
The key to Jack’s dominance at the top of the Rankings has been his all-round contribution right throughout this year’s competition. Regularly opening the batting and bowling for his county, Jacks has scored 84.5 points in the former discipline and 67.5 in the latter.
He has also earned seven points for his contributions in the field, which included two catches during Surrey’s six-wicket semi-final victory over Gloucestershire on Sunday.
Such form inspired his side to an near-unstoppable run of nine consecutive victories in this year’s Blast tournament, which in turn has also aided Jacks’ MVP position, giving him one bonus point for each of his team’s victories.
The rising star was Surrey’s Player of the Match on two occasions, including a memorable home quarter-final performance against Kent which saw Jacks make a useful unbeaten 23 with the bat before returning career best T20 figures of 4-15 with the ball.
The 29.28 MVP points Jacks earned on 1 October was his highest figure in a single T20 fixture this season, and all but sealed Surrey’s place at Finals Day on the weekend of 3-4 October, when Liam Plunkett (17.4 MVP points), Steven Croft (15.8 points) and Dan Christian (22 points) won the Player of the Match awards on the day.
Jacks’ season was not only recognised by the PCA’s MVP algorithm, but also the players themselves as he received a nomination for the Vitality PCA Young Player of the Year award at the NatWest Cricket Awards on Saturday, marking him out as one of the brightest three young talents in English cricket this year.
Sublime Harmer wins back-to-back Overall MVPs
Essex talisman Harmer has undoubtedly been the outstanding player in domestic cricket during the last two seasons, and that is reflected in his second consecutive Overall MVP victory.
The off-spinner wins the race for £5k at a canter, earning 268.2 MVP points at an average of 16.76 points-per-game over the course of this season. With by far the best points-per-game average of any player to have appeared in at least ten fixtures, Harmer finishes 30 points clear of nearest challenger and fellow NatWest PCA Men’s Player of the Year nominee Craig Overton.
With individual excellence comes team success, and Harmer has had plenty of that in the last two seasons. The 2019 Specsavers County Championship and Vitality Blast champion this year added the one-off Bob Willis Trophy to his trophy cabinet at the end of September.
Harmer was the leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket last year with 83, and followed suit this year claiming 38 tournament scalps at an average of 15.86 on the way to his team’s ultimate success, earning 195.7 BWT MVP points.
He was only denied further MVP recognition by the excellent form of Overton, who edged Harmer out for the format-specific Bob Willis Trophy MVP after one of the closest races in years.
After his Finals Day heroics last year, Harmer has also contributed in the shortest format this time around, his 72.51 Vitality Blast MVP points ranking him amongst the top 50 performers this season.
To underline his dominance across all formats this year, Harmer led the Overall MVP for 43 non-consecutive days throughout the season. That equates to 66% of the season, with none of the three other players who have led the Overall MVP having a figure higher than 14%.
He is therefore a worthy recipient of the £5,000 Overall MVP winner’s cheque, and joins Jacks, Overton and Southern Vipers’ Georgia Adams in claiming a domestic MVP prize this year.
The MVP algorithm was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the match-winning performers in any given fixture. On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus points are awarded for key disciplines such as scoring a large percentage of your team’s runs, claiming top-order wickets and taking catches in the field.
The Rankings therefore give the most accurate reflection of the top performers in the game, and Harmer and Jacks have been just that for Essex and Surrey this season.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.