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Surrey all-rounder takes top spot in tightest MVP race in years.
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Surrey’s Will Jacks has powered his way to the top of the PCA’s Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player Rankings thanks to a string of match-winning performances.
The all-rounder has opened for the Kia Oval side with the ball and bat in recent fixtures, meaning he has influenced games in the crucial power-plays. He has hit 267 runs at a strike-rate of 153.44 and has contributed with six wickets at a miserly economy of 6.72.
Jacks has been one of the stars for Surrey who have turned around their early season form across competitions to win seven Blast games in a row and have set-up a home quarter-final against Kent, a re-run of Sunday’s relatively routine victory over their south-east rivals.
A place in Vitality Blast Finals Day will not be the only prize at stake as Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond is hot on the heels of Jacks in the race for the 20-over MVP. Jacks has 123.55 MVP points, just 6.43 ahead of the Kent opener who has been in magnificent form all summer and tops the run charts in T20 cricket.
Six of the current top 10 in the Blast specific MVP table will be in quarter-final action on Thursday 1 October, including Ian Cockbain for Gloucestershire who has 109.23 MVP points thanks to 369 runs at a strike-rate of 174.05 and is top of the six-hitting table with 22 maximums in his nine innings.
Stevie Eskinazi leads the way for players who bow out of the competition, he is in fourth position. Arguably, the most impressive name in the top 10 is Yorkshire’s Joe Root, despite only playing in five fixtures he sits in fifth position with a staggering 21.75 per-game MVP total.
England’s Test captain has hit 278 runs at an average of 69.5 and will have done his case for England selection no end of good with his strike-rate of 144.79. Chipping in with seven wickets too, Root underlined his class in a welcome return to the domestic game.
An in-depth look at the MVP table will show all is to play for with the winner of the Blast MVP taking home a £2,500 cheque. Players have a maximum of three games left and all those in the top 50 can put pressure on Jacks in the tightest race for the Blast MVP in years.
There have been seven different leaders of the Blast MVP throughout the group stage at the end of any given day, with games taking place at different times of day you can add two further names to the list of those at the summit of the individual rankings in 2020.
Max Holden started the Blast off in style with an unbeaten 102 before Keaton Jennings scored a maiden T20 century of his own hours later to topple Holden in the leader board. Since Holden was the first to top the MVP statistics, the lead has changed hands a remarkable 12 times.
Glamorgan’s captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Chris Cooke, Middlesex’s Eskinazi and Jennings swapped positions at the top before Bell-Drummond led for six days while the Bob Willis Trophy returned for the final group game.
Batsmen have dominated the shortest format in this strangest of summers with Joe Clarke, Luke Wright and Zak Crawley enjoying brief stints leading the way after top order runs for Notts Outlaws, Sussex Sharks and Kent Spitfires respectively powered their teams through to the knockout stages. However, Eskinazi was not finished yet, his consistency kept him in contention and after smashing 77 off 44 in the London derby meaning 21.80 MVP points he regained top spot.
The Middlesex man could only stand and watch as he saw his lead slip away to the imperious Bell-Drummond who powered his way to 25.79 MVP points thanks to 89 runs off 54 deliveries against his side.
Then enter Will Jacks. Surrey struggled during the opening throws of the Blast campaign and Jacks helped lead the turnaround with his economical and wicket-taking prowess with the ball and big hitting at the top of the order.
The 21-year-old hit scores of 50-plus in three consecutive games against Middlesex, Sussex and Hampshire while taking three wickets across those fixtures as he helped the South London outfit into the knockout stages.
Jacks’ form has seen him leap into eighth position in the Overall County MVP, which is currently topped by Simon Harmer with Craig Overton the nearest challenger. With the Bob Willis Trophy final taking place from Wednesday, it looks to be a two-horse race for the £5,000 prize for topping the all-format MVP table.
The PCA’s purpose-built MVP algorithm was designed by the Association in conjunction with the players to identify the match-winners in any given fixture.
On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus points are awarded for key disciplines in the game such as scoring quickly and taking top-order wickets, meaning the Rankings give the truest reflection of the best players in the game.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.