South African paceman making the difference for Surrey's title tilt.

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As Surrey charge for the Specsavers County Championship title it has been the efforts of Morne Morkel that have caught the attention in the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings.

The South African quick is averaging 31.37 MVP points per red-ball game in 2018, second to only James Harris who leads the Rankings in the Championship. Morkel has taken 38 wickets in Division One at an astonishing average of 13.84 with Surrey leading the way heading into the last month of the season.

The Kia Oval outfit have now won seven Championship games in-a-row, six of them since Morkel arrived in the country with the fast bowler currently topping the MVP averages in the top tier of the Championship.

The MVP formula was designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic and international season.

An innovation which provides a more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages, the MVP algorithm gives full credit to those players whose performances improve their team’s chances of winning.

Points are accrued for all runs scored and wickets taken, these are then adjusted within the context of the match to take into account strike rates and economy rates.

Surrey have three players in the top 50 of the MVP Rankings for the County Championship, Morkel (21st). Rory Burns (19th) and Rikki Clarke (13th). Clarke is having one of the best seasons of his career and is third on the Overall MVP Rankings, trailing Joe Denly and Ben Raine.


PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings formula explained in 75 seconds...

Denly has opened up a huge lead of 126 points over Leicestershire’s Raine, with the Kent vice-captain in the form of his life. He currently leads the Vitality Blast Rankings as well, but will have no part to play on Finals Day. He is just about in the top 50 of the Championship Rankings, but with red-ball cricket his sole focus he scored 106 and took five wickets against Derbyshire in the last round of fixtures.

Denly already has more MVP points of the previous two winners Samit Patel and Jeetan Patel, with the 32-year-old on the verge of collecting the £10,000 prize at the end of the season.

Lewis Gregory continues to make upward strides in the Overall Ranking, with the Somerset man now in the top four and only 0.81 points behind Rikki Clarke in third place. Gregory was Man of the Match in his latest Championship game as he racked up 53.67 points against Yorkshire.

He will have the chance to move into the top three and even chase down Ben Raine as Somerset head to the Vitality Blast Finals Day on September 15. Both Leicestershire and Surrey will have no part to play giving Gregory every chance to overtake in the Rankings.

Interestingly, Gregory, Sussex’s Laurie Evans and Lancashire’s Alex Davies have a real chance of winning the Vitality Blast MVP Rankings, as they are the only players in the top ten who will play on Finals Day.

Denly leads the way on the shortest format of the game with 218.23 MVP points, however, Gregory (154.46), Evans (153.90) and Davies (149.72) have at least one game to close the gap, with either Gregory or Evans making it to the final of the competition.

View the MVP Rankings here.