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Bob Willis Trophy

Wisden’s Bob Willis Trophy team of the group stage

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

With just a final between Essex and Somerset at Lord’s to go, here’s Wisden.com‘s Bob Willis Trophy team of the group stage.

Jake Libby

5 matches, 498 runs @ 55.33, HS: 184

The 27-year-old has had an excellent start to his Worcestershire career after joining from Nottinghamshire last November in a bid to kickstart his career. No-one faced more than his 1,041 deliveries across five matches, while he topped the run-charts with 498 runs at a healthy average of 55.33.

Ben Slater

5 matches, 425 runs @ 60.71, HS: 172

A most peculiar campaign for the left-hander. He began it on loan at Leicestershire with an excellent 172 against Lancashire, recorded a pair against Derbyshire before returning to Nottinghamshire, where he scored a century against Lancashire again. An 86 then followed against the club with whom he began the campaign with, and then he was dismissed without scoring against Durham. In the end, he finished as the second-highest run-scorer of the group stage.

Tom Abell

5 matches, 352 runs @ 44, HS: 119

Somerset’s captain has led the way in his side’s run to the final of the competition, hitting 352 runs at 44 from one down in the batting line-up. His 167-ball 119 helped Somerset to a monster win over Glamorgan in their campaign opener to get the ball rolling, and his second century of the tournament was delivered against Gloucestershire in cahoots with breakout star Tom Lammonby, who is mightily unlucky not to find a place here.

Ben Duckett

5 matches, 394 runs @ 56.28, HS: 150

After a disappointing 2019, Duckett may not have been able to help deliver Notts a win, but he stood out with two tons in his last three matches. Against Lancashire, the England left-hander contributed 116 in a 178-run stand with Ben Slater, and against Durham his key partner was another under-performer last year, Joe Clarke. The pair put on 195, with Duckett dismissed for the final time this season on 150.

Colin Ackermann

5 matches, 379 runs @ 54.14, HS: 94

While Leicestershire didn’t live up to their sparkling start against Lancashire, captain Colin Ackermann enjoyed a solid campaign. In that incredible opening win, it was his 41-ball 72 that helped his side to 150 inside 16 overs, and it followed on from his knock of 94 earlier in the match. He went on to add a couple more half-centuries to his tally and was by a distance Leicestershire’s leading run-scorer as they settled for a second-last finish in their group.

Adam Wheater (wk)

5 matches, 251 runs @ 50.20 | 18 dismissals

Essex’s wicketkeeper offered useful contributions with the bat throughout the group stage, culminating in a significant unbeaten 83 in the win over Middlesex, the next highest score in the innings 43. Only Sir Alastair Cook hit more runs for Essex across the five matches.

Jamie Overton

5 matches, 15 wickets @ 17.06 | 261 runs @ 37.28, HS: 120

Such have been his performances with the bat that Jamie Overton, who started the season with Somerset and will finish it with Surrey, can find a place in this side at No.7. Overton waved goodbye to Taunton with some fine performances; a five-for against Glamorgan was followed by wickets and a quick-fire 68 against Northants, but the cherry was a 92-ball 120 against Warwickshire. He went wicketless on his Surrey red-ball debut but did hit 55 as part of a winning effort against Sussex.

Darren Stevens

5 matches, 29 wickets @ 15.58, BBI: 5-37

Still going strong at the age of 44, Stevens took three five-fors in his five matches; no wonder Kent offered him another one-year deal to keep terrorising county batsmen with his nibbly seamers. Perhaps his most remarkable display was a five-for to run through Sussex after Kent had put up an incredible 530-1 in their sole innings.

Craig Overton

5 matches, 28 wickets @ 10.71, BBI: 5-26

Somerset’s seamers ran riot in the group stages, and Craig Overton was the pick of the bunch. The England seamer was relentless in his hunt for wickets and finished the season with an economy rate under two, his most eye-catching performance career-best match figures of 9-51 in a 314-run win over Gloucestershire.

Simon Harmer

5 matches, 34 wickets @ 13.70, BBI: 8-64

The South African off-spinner’s hold over county cricket has continued in 2020; he leads the way in the wicket-takers’ chart with 34 victims. When taking 14 wickets against Surrey, the only member of the opposition he failed to dismiss was Jamie Smith. Remarkable.

Tim Murtagh

4 matches, 25 wickets @ 12.72, BBI: 5-34

The 39-year-old remains one of the most reliable performers on the circuit and despite a decent array of quicks, Murtagh still remains the most valuable in Middlesex’s pack. He swung the momentum back in his side’s favour when reducing Sussex to 4-3 in a tight contest at Radlett that the Seaxes would triumph in.

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